Dec 1, 2013

New dog license options available across the state

Shown are the three styles of dog licenses
available this year. The one-year license is
shown on the left, permanent license is
in the middle and the three-year license
is on the right. (Ryan Berry photo)
BY RYAN BERRY
MANAGING EDITOR
GREENVILLE – The 2014 dog licenses are now on sale, but it’s not business as usual for the Darke County Animal Shelter. In past years, dog owners only had one option – a single year license. A new law passed by the state’s legislators and signed by Governor John Kasich requires counties to offer a three year and permanent license.

Duane Sanning, Darke County Dog Warden, expressed his opposition to a permanent license to local representatives, but the measure was stuck in HB 59, Ohio’s Budget Bill. Sanning wasn’t the only one voicing opposition to the law. He noted the state’s Animal Shelter Assoc., Ohio’s Commissioners Association and Auditors Assoc. all expressed disapproval of the requirement.

The main concern Sanning has with the law is being able to track the license. As it stands, there is no software available to continually track dogs with a permanent license. That doesn’t mean his office won’t do its best to try. The application is more extensive than a single or three-year license. The dog owner will have to provide more identifying marks on their dog to prevent the license from being transferred from one dog to another.

An additional concern is how long the license will remain readable. Sanning sees the wear and tear a single year license takes and by the end of the year many of them are unreadable. His office is trying to account for the extended use on the permanent and three-year license by ordering thicker tags, but he expects they will also wear out. Sanning pointed out if a license becomes unreadable it negates the reason a dog wears a license – to find the owner if the dog is lost.

The permanent license will also require the shelter to be more cautious of funds available on a yearly basis. If the shelter sees an influx of funds from the sale of permanent and three-year licenses this year they will have to find a way to make sure those funds are spread out over the next three to 10-years.

The Darke County Animal Shelter operates strictly from license fees, adoption of dogs and cats, and fines. Sanning pointed out the Darke County Commissioners contribute zero General Fund money to the shelter. There are approximately 12,000 licensed dogs in the county and the dog warden believes there is almost as many unlicensed. The adoption of dogs and cats generates approximately $25,000 a year.

Sanning and the Darke County Auditor originally discussed raising the license fees by $2 this year, but with the state’s new licensing requirements the shelter had to forecast its needs three to 10-years down the road. Instead of $12 or $14, dog owners will be paying $16 for a license this year. Persons purchasing a three-year or permanent license will not get a price break. The three-year license is $48 and a permanent license is $160 (based on 10-years).

Licenses are available Dec. 1 through Jan. 31. The permanent and three-year license will not be available after Jan. 31. The permanent license is only available at the Darke County Animal Shelter, 5066 County Home Road, Greenville. The three-year license is available at the shelter and the Darke County Auditor’s Office in the Courthouse. The one-year license will be available at the shelter, auditor’s office, Suttons in Arcanum, Patty’s IGA in Bradford, Farmers State Bank in New Madison, Birts Store in New Weston, Osgood State Bank in Osgood, Old National Bank in Union City, Ace Hardware in Versailles, and Ace Hardware in Greenville. Licenses are also available on-line at www.darkecountyrealestate.org (auditor’s website). All dogs over three months of age must have a county dog license.

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