Thursday, January 31, 2008

Don't Forget Your License--Your Dog License

Karen Zolka

"I think it's crazy, all the fees you have to pay to have a dog," says Christa Hoover of Wheelersburg, WV.

Now she will have one more fee to pay when she moves to Athens. The last day to register before facing higher fees in Athens County is January 31.

Not that it's anything new. Dog licensing has been the law in Ohio for years. And student dog owners who live in Athens County during the school year are not exempt, even if their permanent address is in another state. It just hasn't been as strictly enforced in the past.

Sherry Armstrong, the kennel keeper for the Athens County shelter, says the shelter now has two to three more workers than in the past. The additional employees will help with various things; among them enforcing dog licensing laws.

Here's how the increased enforcement will work. Every week at the Athens County Commissioner's meeting, the commissioners are going to draw a different township out of a hat. The wardens will patrol the designated area and stop dog owners on the street, or approach them while at home.

Sherry Armstrong, Athens County Dog Shelter

If an unlicensed dog is found, the owner will be able to buy a license from the warden, but it will cost $48--that's double the normal licensing fee. If the owner does not have a license and chooses not to purchase one, the owner will have to take the matter to court.

Licenses can be purchased at the Athens County Auditor's office, or at the Athens County Dog Shelter. If bought before January 31, the licenses are $24. A ten dollar exemption is available if your dog meets certain requirements, such as being spayed or neutered. If you buy the license after the January 31 deadline, all fees double, but the $10 discount still remain in effect.

Revenue from tag sales keep the shelter running. Last year dog owners purchased 8,000 tags. Dave Owen, from the auditor's office says that 5,400 tags have been sold so far this year. More than 120 were sold at the dog shelter on January 29.

Although dog owner and new Athens resident Christa Hoover was not aware that it was the law to license her dog, she agreed that it is a good idea in case her lab puppy ever gets lost.

Just make sure the tags are visible, or else you could face fines.

If you want to cut down on time spent registering your dog, you can print the Athens County Registration Form, fill it out and take it with you. It is a one page application.

Sherry Armstrong demonstrates how to fill out the application

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