Beginning in June, Ottawa County will begin a dog census to assess if canines in the county are accounted for and licensed. In 2003, the number of dogs licensed peaked at 20,628, but has steadily declined since then. Michigan law requires that all dogs 4 months and older be licensed.
Dog licenses ensure that pets are vaccinated against rabies and that lost dogs can quickly be reunited with their owners. They also save dollars by eliminating the need to return strays to the animal shelter.
“In many households, pets are part of the family. Licensing your dog dramatically increases the odds of your pet being returned to you if it is ever lost,” said county spokeswoman Shannon Felgner. “A dog license can be the difference between your dog finding its way home or being kept in a shelter. All in all, getting a dog license is part of being a responsible dog owner.”
Representatives from Ottawa County will be going door to door beginning June 4. Households with unlicensed dogs will be given information on how and where to obtain a license. Those who choose to not follow through on licensing risk being ticketed. County officials are encouraging owners to register their dogs now, before the census begins.
Dog licenses may be purchased online at miOttawa.org, by mail or in person in either one- or three-year increments. Owners must provide a current rabies certificate and proof of spaying or neutering. In person, dog owners can visit one of overtwo dozen locations selling licenses, including many local government offices and veterinarians. The cost of a license varies from $10 to $70.