Pet overpopulation combined with irresponsible pet ownership cost the State over $300,000 a year in what is euphemistically called "euthanasia" or "putting to sleep," millions of cats, dog, puppies, and kittens, and, yes Ms. Bunny, even rabbits.
The Pet Lover's License Plate was the idea of Judie Mancuso. At first she tried to pass spay and neuter legislation through the State Assembly. One of my first blogs in the San Ramon Express criticized our Assembly woman, Joan Buchanan, as No friend of animals. This blog generated a volley of angry replies from an organized group opposed to the legislation.
After SB250 went down to defeat, Judie Mancuso turned her attention to the Pet Lover's License Plate. In order for this to succeed the organization had to accumulate 7500 pre-orders for the DMV to make it available as an official Special Interest License Plate.
The pre-orders were lagging behind, so I wrote two more blogs urging people to order them. My urging didn't have much effect, but fortunately a contribution from Pierce Brosnan to help pay for pre-orders, brought them up to the required 7500 by the end of last year. Brosnan also did the artwork on the plate.
I thought the plates would be available by the middle of this year, so I made an appointment at the Pleasanton DMV for June 21, 2013. I got there at 1:40 and had to wait 20 minutes on the Appointment line because the scheduler didn't open for Appointments before 2 pm. Instead the non-appointment line went in before the Appointments.
The DMV agent I spoke to said this plate wasn't available from the office yet but instructions to order one were on line. I downloaded a form to fill out and mailed it with a check to the DMV. The Pet Lovers plate can now be selected in the DMV's online order form.
When I received the notification that my license plates were ready to pick up, I went to the DMV website to make an appointment. The soonest date I could schedule was December 4th. I didn't want to wait two weeks to pick up my license. So I decided not to schedule an appointment.
I drove down to the Pleasanton DMV Office this afternoon. I got there a little before 2 pm. The parking lot was not very full, so I pulled into a space near the entrance and took the plates off the car. I needed to exchange them for the new specialized plates. I got on the non-appointment line by 2 pm with only two people in front of me. I waited 10 minutes while people with 2 pm appointments were all taken ahead of me.
The wait time for people with appointments was 3 or 4 minutes. The wait time for people without appointments kept growing longer and longer even though the waiting room was not very crowded.
The electric sign teased us with wait times of 35 minutes, 45 minutes, 52 minutes, and then over an hour. In between announcing the wait times, the sign would instruct us to go to the DMV website to make an appointment.
My wait time was just under an hour including the 10 minutes I waited on the line. The soonest I could get an appointment would have been two weeks. So my wait time was actually much less without an appointment!
The plates look very nice on my car. I even like the painting better. SPCATS stands for Spay Cats or could also be read as Special Cats.
I really hope this program catches on and reduces the number of dogs and cats and other animals put down in shelters every year. If you are a Pet Lover, please consider getting one of these license plates for your car, truck, or SUV and wear it proudly!