Summit County dog owners are taking advantage of a new amnesty program allowing them to buy licenses now without paying a late penalty, officials said today.
The county has sold 99 licenses so far through its ''Pardon My Pooch'' initiative. Pet owners must buy the licenses — which cost $14 each — at selected community events to qualify. Otherwise, they must pay a $14 late fee.
State law requires owners to obtain a license within 30 days of getting a dog. Licenses also must be renewed each year.
The county launched the amnesty program earlier this month to boost compliance and raise awareness about the state law. Earlier this year, a Beacon Journal analysis showed that only about 30 percent of dogs were licensed in the county last year — one of the worst rates among urban counties in Ohio.
Officials said dog licenses provide proof of ownership if a pet goes missing, authorizes pets to visit area dog parks and generates revenue for the county animal shelter.
''I am very pleased to see that local pet owners are responding to this program,'' County Executive Russ Pry said in a prepared statement.
The Pardon My Pooch program will be at the following community events:
• Summit County Government Employee Night at Canal Park in Akron from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday.
• Humane Society of Greater Akron's Imagine the Pawsibilities Rummage Sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 18 at the Stow-Kent Shopping Center, 4301 Kent Road, Stow.
• One of a Kind Pets Adopt-A-Thon from 10 a.m. 4 p.m. Sept. 19 at Hardesty Park, 1615 W. Market St., Akron.
• PawFest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 20 at Bow Wow Beach at Silver Springs Park, 5070 Stow Road, Stow.
• Barkitecture from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 31 at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, 714 N. Portage Path, Akron.
For more details about Pardon My Pooch, call the county Division of Animal Control at 330-643-2845 or go to http://www.co.summit.oh.us.
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