The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

August 22, 2013

This is no barking matter, dog license fee going up

JEFFERSON —  Ashtabula County Commissioners have agreed to move ahead in increasing the county’s dog licensing fees.

Commissioners plan to approve the increases in their regular session Tuesday; however, the changes will not go into effect until 2014, said County Administrator Janet Discher.

The cost of a dog license will be increased to $12 for a one-year license, which is all the county used to offer. Beginning next year, the new law requires the county to offer a three-year license, which will cost $36, and a permanent license, which will cost $120, Discher said.

Individuals who operate a kennel and have a kennel license, will pay $60.

The county has not increased its dog license cost in 14 years. Discher said a number of factors were considered when determining if an increase was necessary. The state average across all 88 counties is $14 and the dog license cost in all of Ashtabula County’s neighboring counties is higher, she said.

Ultimately, the increasing expenses of the dog and kennel fund was the determining factor, she said.

Discher said the dog and kennel fund is currently not self-sufficient and if it is not self-sufficient, it fall back on the general fund.

“There are no cuts to make,” she said. “We have one employee and one vehicle. There’s not much to trim.”

The county also pays the Ashtabula County Animal Protective League $70,000 to house stray dogs picked up by the county dog warden. Discher said it is more cost effective for the county to contract with the APL than to operate a kennel on its own.

“There is currently not enough in the dog and kennel fund to pay that,” she said.

On average, 600 to 700 stray dogs are brought to the APL by the county dog warden. Discher said if those dogs were licensed, the dog warden could return them to their owners rather than bring them to an already over-run APL.

“By law, every dog in the county should be licensed,” she said.

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