The Holly Papers

Holly [Animated Golden Retriever] The dog that can do no wrong.

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[Dog Tag] The following documents chronicle the plight of one Golden Retriever, Holly, against the bureaucracy of the County of San Diego's Department of Animal Control. After a legal battle of exactly 1 year, however, Holly was able to get her dog license and become a "Legal Dog-izan" of San Diego County. No longer will she have to lurk undercover in her own county. No longer will she have to fear the dog nappers roaming the county in their orange vehicles. Once again, Holly can breathe the fresh air of freedom without worry of capativity by the bureaucrats of San Diego County's Dept. of Animal Control.

[Dog] The story started when I sent a check for a 3-year dog license for Holly on 21 Feb. 1998. The county promptly cashed the check on 6 March 1998, but they didn't issue a license or contact me at all.

[Dog] [Dog] I didn't like that, so I decided to spend some effort to get the license without paying the County again for their mistake. But my first dealings was with my Bank's bureaucracy. I tried to get a copy of the cancelled check, but my bank of 20 years or so, Peninsula Bank of San Diego, ignored my written request. So I went in person and asked for a copy of my check. They said I had to file a written request elsewhere, but after some "discussion," I finally got a copy of my own check, and shortly later cancelled my bank account. (I should note that my bank used to send me all my cancelled checks, but they stopped when they introduced a so-called "free service" called "Check Safe Storage," where they will destroy the checks and store the copies on microfilm for free. Supposedly, they will send limited copies for the asking--ha ha ha).

[Dog] [Dog] [Dog] The next bureaucracy was a tougher nut to crack. The infamous Licensing Division, Department of Animal Control, County of San Diego, California--feared by man and beast alike. I sent a copy of my (hard-to-obtain) cancelled check with a letter asking for a dog license or refund my $23 on 16 Aug. 1998. They ignored the letter.

[Dog] [Dog] [Dog] [Dog] I sent a follow-up letter with a copy of the cancelled check and a copy of the previous letter to the San Diego County Auditor on 5 Nov. 1998. They ignored the letter.

That got me mad. I went down to the Small Claims Court to file a claim for $23 plus my time. However, the court said I couldn't file a claim unless the county said it was OK with them and denied my claim. The county didn't deny my claim, but ignored it, so I was stuck. So, I talked to a legal-aide guy in the trailer outside the courthouse. He said to go down to the District Attorney and file another claim. The claim I filed was no good since it had to be filled out on their form.

[Dog] [Dog] [Dog] [Dog] [Dog] So I drove down to the County Administration Center and walked up some stairs, went through these two giant wooden doors and up to this guy in a bullet-proof booth. I can understand why he's in a bullet-proof booth when they ignore your claims. He gave me a form to fill out and said I'll hear about the claim in a couple weeks.

[Dog] [Dog] [Dog] [Dog] [Dog] [Dog] A couple weeks later I got a letter dated 29 Dec. 1998 from a county claims representative denying my claim. He/she/it (W. Wiggs) said the claim was more than 6 months old, so could only be considered if the Board of Supervisors approved considering a claim against them. At that point I gave up.

[Dog] [Dog] [Dog] [Dog] [Dog] [Dog] [Dog] However, a couple months after that, 10 Feb. 1999, I got a letter from the Dept. of Animal Control with Holly's license. The letter appoligized for "any convenience" and they waved the $20 late fee. Of course, the only lateness (1 year) was on the part of the county, but I'm glad Holly is once again a legal dog.

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