BUSINESS

Few take advantage of new dog tag options

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

The latest figures of the county’s dog licenses sales indicate not many people are taking advantage of the new tag options.

During the Athens County Commissioners’ meeting Tuesday, Auditor Jill Thompson reported 1,499 tags have sold so far, including those sold online. Of those, 13 are three-year tags and three are permanent tags.

The amount sold as of Tuesday were about 200 less from the same time last year. Thompson said she isn’t concerned with the drop because dog owners have a few more weeks to purchase or renew tags. They just need to do it before Jan. 31. After that date, a penalty equal to the cost of the tag is imposed.

“For those who have several dogs, that can be costly,” Thompson said.

As previously reported, a provision inserted into the state budget bill has given dog owners the option of buying annual, three-year or permanent licenses. Previously, licenses were renewed on an annual basis only. The law specifies that the three-year tag will cost three times the price of the annual tag, and the permanent tag will cost 10 times the annual fee.

In Athens County, one-year tags cost $26. Three-year tags go for $78. Permanent tags, which technically last 10 years, cost $260. If the dog is spayed or neutered, the price is reduced by $10 for each year the tag covers.

The County Commissioners Association of Ohio, the County Auditors Association of Ohio and the Ohio County Dog Wardens Association initially opposed the change in the law, fearing it would cause confusion. Thompson said her office isn’t having any difficulty administering the new options. Dog owners just may not know of the new options.

“It’s not necessarily a savings,” she added. “They’re just paying up front, which might be more of a convenience.”

According to Ohio Revised Code, all dogs are required to be licensed. All fees go to the operation of Athens County Dog Shelter. Athens County typically sells between 7,000 and 10,000 tags, according to Thompson. At the time of purchase, dog owners also have the option of donating to the spay and neuter program.

Starting in January, representatives from the auditor’s office will set up at the Athens Farmers Market and Kroger in Athens and Nelsonville. Those efforts have historically improved sales and awareness, Thompson said. Tags can be purchased in person, by mail or online by visiting www.athenscountyauditor.org.