State law gives municipal governments the authority to go out and do door-to-door surveys and ask homeowners to produce licenses for their dogs. The pet owner can then be ticketed if the dog is not licensed, which can be nullified if a license is purchased within a certain number of days.In fact, one such survey is being undertaken right now, as WOOD-TV reports in Ottawa County 'dog census' starts Tues.
Starting Tuesday, Ottawa County representatives will be going door-to-door to make sure all dogs are properly licensed in what it's calling a "dog census."It's not just Ottawa County. Genesee County did one last year, which MLive reported was very lucrative: $111,000 and counting: Genesee County cashing in on new dog licenses as census continues.
More than 2,700 dog owners without a valid license have purchased them as a result of the county's beefed-up census, and workers won't finish their work until mid-October.In addition to Ottawa County, parts of Oakland County will be conducting their own censuses this month and next. The unincorporated parts of Oakland County have already started, according to the Oakland Press.
Walt Rodabaugh, chief animal control officer for the county, said workers have brought in about $111,000 in new license fees, knocked on 32,000 doors, and issued 662 tickets to dog owners who didn't have proof their pets had been vaccinated for rabies.
"I'm very pleased with the program," Rodabaugh said. "I think it has helped all the way around" by raising funds and providing a system for owners to find lost canines.
The deadline to register for a dog license is Saturday. After June 1, the census team from Oakland County Animal Control will be going door-to-door in northern and southwest communities in the county to check if dog owners have a license. Communities outside of their municipality have their own animal control, which will enforce the law, said [Oakland County Animal Control administrative supervisor Joanie] Toole.Royal Oak will wait another month, with C&G Newspapers reporting City to perform dog census in July.
Beginning in July, census workers employed by the city will be going door to door to account for and ensure every pet dog in the city is licensed.As you can see, this is serious business. Remember that Julie Bass went to court over her dogs not being licensed. Fortunately, all charges were dismissed. Just the same, I don't want that kind of hassle. Time to get my dogs licensed.
The City Commission voted 6-0 to approve the census at the May 20 meeting. Commissioner Jim Rasor was absent. The commission also approved rate increases for purchasing dog licenses, which will go into effect in July, and an amnesty period throughout June for dog owners delinquent on renewing their licenses. A dog is considered delinquent if a license is not renewed within 45 days of the expiration date, according to the City Clerk’s Office.
The amnesty period and delayed effective date for the rate hikes are an attempt to incentivize residents to have their dogs vaccinated and licensed before the census begins.
Census workers will knock on doors, check for a dog and ask if the dog is licensed, according to the approved resolution. If the dog is not licensed, the owner will have 14 days to have the dog vaccinated for rabies and purchase a dog license.
If the owner still does not comply, the city’s animal control officer is authorized to issue a misdemeanor ticket for harboring an unlicensed animal.
City Attorney Dave Gillam said the maximum fine for the charge is $500, but it is up to the judge’s discretion. City Manager Don Johnson said the city will hire two census workers at $10 per hour to do the job.
According to the city, there are about 23,000 pet dogs in Royal Oak, based on the 2010 census. Yet, the city clerk has given out only about 3,500 active dog licenses.