Get your dog licensed: It’s the law, and the fees help support homeless animals

By Megan Alley
Sun staff

Many activities – driving, hunting and fishing, just to name a few – that Clermont County residents participate in require a license.
The fees associated with licensing may seem burdensome, but the monies go toward supporting said activities, for instance funding and maintaining roads and highways and protecting outdoor resources, respectively.
Well, did you know that all dogs in Clermont County are required to be licensed?
Just like not registering your car, if your dog is not registered, you will be subject to fines and a costly citation.
As a benefit to the community, the monies collected from the sale of the licenses goes directly, and entirely, to fund the work of the county animal shelter.
In fact, this is the only public funding the shelter receives.
Now, county dog owners have an extra month to secure licenses for their dogs without paying a penalty, thanks to the efforts of Clermont Animal CARE Humane Society, the new group operating the county’s animal shelter.
Currently, a county dog license will cost you $16.75; this cost will double after Feb. 28.
Besides being required by law, here are a few of the reasons why it’s important to take advantage of this extension and license your pooch:

– Licensing fees are far less expensive than the fines you can incur without one.
Dog owners with unlicensed dogs can face fines of $110, in addition to a $125 fee that can be issued if there is an unlicensed dog running at large.
That’s a lot more than the cost of a license.

– If your dog goes missing, his being licensed will drastically improve the chances of him being returned to you.
A license is a dog’s primary identification, and it’s the first thing shelter workers look for when they pick up a dog that’s gotten loose; dog licenses provide an easy way for the shelter to identify and contact the owner.

– Revenue from license sales is needed for everything from food and cleaning supplies to water and electric bills, as well as for dog warden services, shelter staff and veterinary care for the hundreds of homeless pets that go through the shelter’s doors every year.
In fact, without community support from license fees, there is no way to keep the shelter going, Robin Tackett, board president, said.
She noted that they’re seeing fewer dogs being licensed in the last year than in prior years, which results in less funding from the county. And the shortfall is significant – at least $70,000 annually, which is a huge budget hit when the current county funding is just $310,000, she added.
In that vein, if all dogs in the county were to be licensed, the county’s funding for shelter operations would more than double, according to Tackett.
When asked for her opinion as to why dog owners don’t get licenses, she responded.
“Honestly, just from my conversations with my circle of friends and such, most people don’t know that it’s the law and it’s the only county funding that the county shelter receives.”
She added, “Most people said they would be happy to get a license knowing that money would be used to support homeless dogs in this area.”
Anna Friedman, shelter director, said that she hopes responsible pet owners will do the right thing, both for themselves and their community, noting that shelter officials have many positive goals for the shelter, in addition to saving innocent lives – they’re looking to install “much-needed” fencing so that dogs have safe areas to run and play, and make physical improvements to the shelter itself so that it’s a place in which county residents can take pride.
Dog licenses can be purchased at the Clermont shelter, located at 4025 Filager Road in Batavia, as well as at a number of other locations throughout the county.
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