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Top Dog for 2016 will be ????

awrence County Auditor Jason Stephens knows he’s not barking up the wrong tree with his annual Top Dog contest.

Each December fourth and fifth graders from all county districts are asked to take a bite out of their creativity to write an essay on why their favorite bow-wow should howl with happiness with the honor of having dog tag No. 1

The purpose of the essay contest is to promote the sale of the $12 dog tags, required by state law by every dog owner in the county. The fee goes entirely to the county animal shelter and gives an avenue for pet owners to find their animals if they are lost.

“It’s for fourth and fifth graders because they are creative and honest and a fun-age group to talk about their animal,” Stephens said.

First-time winner was Lauren Simmons of Dawson-Bryant Elementary, who wrote about her Boston terrier, Peighton. Next year it was Madison Spangler, South Point Elementary, for her Griffon-Pekinese, Chewy.

Licenses can be purchased online at the auditor’s website or at:

• Lawrence County Dog Shelter, 1302 Adams Lane, Ironton;

• Dickess Market, 13629 State Route 141;

• Tipton’s Mini Mart, 6366 State Route 93;

• Jim’s Gun Shop, 300 Front St., Proctorville;

• BMV-Proctorville, 402 Trent St., Proctorville; and

• Lawrence County Auditor’s Office, second floor of the courthouse.

Essays will be chewed over by the auditor’s staff during the holidays with the winner announced as a surprise at the first of 2016.