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County Declares Pet Information Private

County Declares Pet Information Private

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- In a divided decision, the Salt Lake County Council has put a stop to the county providing addresses of pet owners.

"The less people know about me, the better," Councilman Jim Bradley said.

Melva Kravitz wanted a list of addresses, along with the type of dog living at each residence, so she could promote her Little Dogs Resort & Salon.

In December, a committee denied Kravitz's request for the pet records, and last week the County Council upheld that decision following an hour-long hearing.

The council was split 4-4 until Councilman Joe Hatch decided to "end this circus" by changing his vote to uphold the committee's decision.

Since Kravitz opened her small-dog grooming, boarding and day-care services business six years ago, she would get a list every month from county Animal Services of the addresses of people who had licensed their dogs, along with the type of dog.

Nearly 75 percent of her business came from sending out postcards advertising her business to the "Pet Parent" at the addresses.

The county stopped providing the information, telling Kravitz it was because of a 2002 State Records Committee opinion, in a case between Murray and Sandy and another pet business, that providing such information was an unwarranted personal invasion.

"It's not like we're al-Qaida or something," Kravitz said. "All it was was a little postcard; it doesn't have to be a big deal."

If the council approved this one information request, it could be swamped with similar requests from other small businesses, Councilwoman Jenny Wilson said.

"We would be doing this on a weekly basis," Wilson said. "We could be opening something that we would not be comfortable with down the road."

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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