By Rick Armon
Beacon Journal staff writer
Published on Sunday, Mar 29, 2009
When Summit County leaders nearly doubled the cost of dog tags this year, they predicted that fewer owners would license their pets in protest.
They were right.
Through Thursday, 32,630 licenses had been sold, compared with 42,234 last year.
''It's extremely disappointing,'' said Craig Stanley, county director of administrative services, which oversees the animal shelter. ''We can do so many things for our animals if we had the money. . . .
''The more funds that come in, the more we can do to try to find homes and keep the animals healthy.''
The deadline to get a license is Tuesday. But county leaders don't expect a last-minute swarm of applications or the new licenses normally obtained during the remainder of the year to boost the numbers to last year's total.
The silver lining for county leaders is that the new $14 license fee is generating more money this year. So far, $456,820 has been collected for tags from individuals, as opposed to kennel licenses.
The county boosted the cost of a license and other fees at the shelter to try to raise enough money to pay for the animal control operation through user
fees instead of relying on general taxpayer funds.
Stanley said the county will be more aggressive this year in tracking down unlicensed animals.
County Councilman Tim Crawford said the county needs to involve park rangers, veterinarians and rescue groups more to push licensing.
The owner of any dog caught without a license must pay double the license fee and can be cited in court, where court costs alone can amount to more than $100.
''It's cheaper to buy a dog license than it is to be fined,'' Crawford said.
According to a Beacon Journal analysis earlier this year, nearly 100,000 unlicensed dogs live in the county and the community has one of the worst compliance rates for dog owners among urban counties in the state.
State law requires dog owners to get new licenses each year. But only about 30 percent complied last year in Summit.
Only Cuyahoga and Hamilton counties, with 24 percent and 28 percent, respectively, had worse rates among the largest Ohio counties. Lucas County had the best at 55 percent.
Licenses can be purchased at the county Fiscal Office at 1030 E. Tallmadge Ave. in Akron or at 16 neighborhood locations:
• Akron Auto Dealers Association, 688 Wolf Ledges Parkway, Akron.
• Swan Hardware, 787 S. Arlington St., Akron.
• Firestone Park IGA, 1028 Hammel St., Akron.
• Ellet Family Foods, 255 Darrow Road, Akron.
• Summit County Animal Shelter, 460 E. North St., Akron.
• Two Turtles, 760 W. Market St., Akron.
• Bath Veterinary Clinic, 1735 N. Cleveland-Massillon Road, Bath Township.
• Copley Feed & Supply, 1468 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road, Copley Township.
• Pet Supplies Plus, 3100 Manchester Road, Coventry Township.
• Falls Hardware, 2413 State Road, Cuyahoga Falls.
• License Bureau, 2955 W. Market St., Fairlawn.
• Hudson Ace Hardware, 5824 Darrow Road, Hudson.
• Manchester Hardware, 955 W. Nimisila Road, New Franklin.
• Pet Parlor and Friends, 10333 Northfield Road, Northfield.
• Hoffman's Ace Hardware, 3200 Greenwich Road, Norton.
• Humane Society of Greater Akron, 4904 Quick Road, Boston Township.
License registration forms are also available online.
For details, call 330-630-7226 or go to http://www.co.summit.oh.us/fiscaloffice/servicesdivision/dog%20licensing.htm.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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