As if the week before Christmas isn’t enough to drive anyone mad, Miami-Dade County took this time out of their schedule (and some money out of our exorbitant property taxes and sizable dog license fees) to send every licensed dog owner a holiday postcard.

I guess they couldn’t decide between a manger scene and a menorah. Instead, they sent us all a personalized nasty-gram reminding us to renew Fluffy’s tags before the end of the year.

Said correspondence found most of my clients scratching their heads. What!!? But I did that back in July! Do I have to do it again? Did my vet not send in the information? Am I going to get a fine?

Here in Miami-Dade, liens on homes are a common ploy used by the optimistically euphemistic Animal Services division of our County government. That’s why most law-abiding dog owners jump when Animal Services fines you $150 for not getting your tag on time. (I like my house, thank you very much.)

And while vets aren’t supposed to be the gatekeepers on this issue, we could get into trouble (with the County) if we don’t automatically crank out a tag with your rabies vaccine or on-time annual exam. And we can also get into trouble (with our clients) if they don’t receive our tag reminder notice on time (we send one and the County sends another).

I don’t know how other vets feel but this is not what I went to vet school for. I am not the County’s police. Do not add “de facto deputy of Humane Services” to my resume—it’d be a shameful blight on an otherwise clean sheet of neat laser print.

You might think: Why not be grateful for letting the County do the dirty work of getting pets in the door for you? And I might be if I approved of the way they used our funds. I might be if I lived and died by the income I get from rabies shots. I might be if my clients didn’t use up our valuable resources in their confusion, jamming our phone lines and occasionally yelling at the receptionist.

Everyone’s already a little on edge this time of year. (Have you tried to get anywhere near a shopping district? Even driving to the supermarket is mission impossible around here these days.) Add one self-righteous, misleading postcard to the plethora of holiday mail and it’s enough to send anyone over the edge. (Never mind what this does to our hospital’s operations at an already busy time of year.)

So without any further ado, here’s an open letter to Miami-Dade County Animal Services on this subject:

Dear MDCAS:Thank you for the holiday postcards. It was so kind of you to take time out of your busy schedule to personalize each and every one. On behalf of my clients, let me assure you that your efforts did not go unnoticed. After all, it was clear you went to great expense to ensure this County’s dogs were considered at this special time of year. With all the other expenses you have, it’s nothing short of miraculous that you were able to make this happen for us all. It makes a property tax and pet license payee’s heart glad to know you’d rather spend your money saluting your constituents over worrying yourself with the grim task of air-handling system overhaul and County employee morale—not to mention the sad task of euthanizing over ninety percent of your charges. Again. Bless your hearts. And may the New Year bring you great returns on your postcard campaign.Dr. Patty Khuly