Dog warden unhappy with license problems

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 11, 2004

State law requires all dogs to be licensed and confined to its owner's property.

Lawrence County leaders want to crack down on people who fail to obey these laws.

Lawrence County Dog Warden Bill Click said he plans to ask Lawrence County Commissioners for additional money to send notices to 1,900 dog owners who did not purchase dog tags during the dog tag sale earlier this year. He said if he is allowed to conduct this mailing, it will be a last-ditch effort before he begins citing people to court.

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"If we have to go to their house, we will write them a ticket. We shouldn't have to go that far to get people to do this,' Click said. "We're not trying to be hard, but this is the law."

Click said the 1,900 figure represents the number of people who purchased a dog tag previously but did not this year. This figure does not take into account the people who have a dog that has never been licensed.

Click said dog owners who are cited into court normally face fines of $150 plus court costs. Additionally, unlicensed dogs can be seized.

Paul Runyon of

Lawrence Street Road hopes the county will do more to find and punish people who let their dogs run loose. He said early last week, two pit bulls came onto his property and attacked his dog, leaving his animal seriously wounded.

"I'm a nervous wreck," Runyon said. "My two grandsons just left Sunday. This happened Monday. If they had been up there (with his dog), there might have been a tragedy."

Pit bull ownership apparently creates a problem in and of itself. It is the only breed of dog specifically listed in state law as "vicious", Click said. He said pit bull ownership is also prohibited within the city of Ironton and the villages of Coal Grove, Hanging Rock and South Point.

Click said he has found that once people have to go to the trouble of buying a dog tag, they are much more likely to keep the animal under control and take better care of it. Part of the reason for this is that once county dog wardens know what dog belongs where, they can more easily locate, notify and possibly take action against owners whose dogs create problems with neighbors.

What the law says about dog ownership

Every person who owns, keeps, or harbors a dog more than three months of age, shall file, on or after the first day of the preceding December but before the thirty-first day of January of each year, in the office of the county auditor of the county in which the dog is kept or harbored, an application for registration for the following year, beginning the thirty-first day of January of that year. The board of county commissioners, by resolution, may extend the period for filing the application.

The application shall state the age, sex, color, character of hair, whether short or long, and breed, if known, of the dog and the name and address of the owner of the dog.

A registration fee of $2 for each dog shall accompany the application, unless a greater fee has been established under division (A)(2) of this section or under section 955.14 of the Revised Code. 

If the application for registration is not filed and the registration fee paid, on or before the thirty-first day of January of each year or, if the board of county commissioners by resolution has extended the date to a date later than the thirty-first day of January, the date established by the board, the auditor shall assess a penalty in an amount equal to the registration fee upon the owner, keeper, or harborer, which must be paid with the registration fee.

From Ohio Revised Code section 955.01 (registration of dogs.)