Why Do I Need to License My Dog?

by Lauren E. Masellas, Animal Control Officer

Yes, yes, I know; it’s one more annoying chore in your already overwhelmed world! And, no doubt, you have a gazillion perfectly logical reasons for why you shouldn’t have to do it…but it is the law.

Maine Animal Welfare Law 7; 3921 states:

“A dog may not be kept within the limits of the State, unless the dog has been licensed by its owner or keeper in accordance with the laws of this State.” And 7; 3922 states “…the owner or keeper of a dog at the age of 6 months or more, on or before January 1st of each year, shall obtain a license: A. from the clerk of the municipality where the dog is kept…2….within 10 days of the conditions of Paragraph A or B being met, shall obtain a license, if between January 1st and October 15th of any year; A. A dog reaches the age of 6 months or more; or B. A person becomes the owner or keeper of a dog aged 6 months or more.”…

The funds collected through licensing go to the state Animal Welfare Program to provide much needed services for our furry, feathered, scaly community members – and here are a few more perfectly logical reasons why you should do it!

Murphy’s law- sooner or later “Bowzer” is going to take a walk without you. That’s right, impossible to believe I know, seeing as you treat him like royalty and are always meticulously careful to close all the doors behind you. It’s going to happen. So when I find “Bowzer” strolling up to the drive through window at McDonald’s with that “have pity, I’m starving” look on his face, despite the extra 15 lbs he’s sporting, my heart can swell with joy at the shiny license tag hanging from his designer collar. I think to myself, “Now here is a truly lucky dog! He has one of those exceptional owners. Come on ‘Bowzer,’ let’s get you home!” That’s right, that little tag has earned “Bowzer” a free ride. It has also saved you from having to take time off from work to make a long miserable drive to the shelter, pay the impound fees, vaccination fees, boarding fees…you get the idea!

Now, let’s suppose “Bowzer” isn’t very street wise. He decides that, since he’s royalty and all, he should be able to waltz right across that busy road. Next thing he knows, he’s being rushed to the vet. But no need to panic, I’m already on the phone to “mommy”, and she is going to meet us there. All because, “Bowzer” was wearing his shiny license tag, so I was able to get his owner’s phone number.

So, aside from all the important Animal Welfare programs that the license fees support, getting it done can actually save you a ton of time, money and heartache. And, you can do it right on line now! So no more excuses! Log on to www.sanfordmaine.org, click on the Town Clerk icon and License your dog – every year! Next year’s licenses are available anytime after October 31st.

P.S. If your “Bowzer” needs his rabies booster, check out the listing of upcoming clinics in the area. It’s posted in the town clerks office monthly, or go directly to www.drhokkanen.com, www.luvmypet.com, www.animalwelfaresociety.org, or www.maine.gov/agriculture/aw and click on up-coming rabies clinics/financial resources. At this writing the rabies shot is only $15 and the license fee for altered dogs is $7. Fair enough price for the peace of mind it will give you!

*And you should also know that all vets are required to send me a copy of every rabies certificate they issue, which means, yes! I know you have a dog and although it takes up a great deal of my time, sooner or later, I will be paying you a visit if your dog is not licensed. I implore you to take appropriate responsibility and get this done…before I really do have to insist! Thank you.