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Dog-owners: Be sure to buy tags

Got a dog? Got a license for it?

Lawrence County dog warden Bill Click said the two go hand in hand -- or should. He and his officers are making a stronger push to get dog owners to buy the requisite tags for their pets.

"We've always tried to do this," Click said. "But we're making a determined effort to make people aware they must buy these tags. If you own a dog, you ought to think enough of it to have it licensed."

State law puts the onus of animal population control on each individual county and gives dog wardens the power to seize animals who are mistreated or are unruly, and fine the offending pet owners.

Click said when his office gets complaints about loose pets, he and his deputies inquire about whether that dog has a license.

But the issue of telling on your neighbor often backfires.

"Nine out of 10 times, people who call and complain have unlicensed dogs, too," Click said.

If they see other homes in the neighborhood that obviously are harboring dogs, they inquire there as well.

"Part of the problem is that people still don't realize they must license their dog," Click said. "There's a lot of misunderstanding. Some people think it's the same thing as a rabies tag. This isn't the case."

Click said people who confuse rabies tags and dogs tags are educated about the issue. Those who simply refuse to buy the tags are often cited into court. Approximately 70 people have been issued citations so far.

Dog tags cost $8 per year per dog, if purchased on time. Tags are $16 if purchased at other times throughout the year, plus any fines.

Those who have questions about state law or about the county's animal shelter can find answers at the animal shelter Web site (www.ddrt.net/shelterindex.htm). Teresa Moore/The Ironton Tribune