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Tags for pets need updated information

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It has come to my attention that when the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets changed the regulations (NYS Agriculture & Markets Article 7 Parts 109-111) related to the licensing of dogs as well as requiring local municipalities to establish their own databases, many dog owners did not receive new license ID tags for their dogs when they renewed their licenses.

There is no database that contains the previous NYS Agriculture & Markets tags as each municipality has been required to establish and maintain their own database. So if your dog is picked up by a dog control officer or private citizen with an NYS Agriculture & Markets tag, the tag will not provide the information required to reunite the dog with its owner. This also would prevent any animal shelter from assisting with identification of the dog.

Under the new regulations, the license tag is to have the city/town of residence, the state (NYS), the phone number of the city/town clerk, and the individual tag identification number; some towns have also included the numeric code for St. Lawrence County (40) and the numeric code for the individual town/city—(40??). Most towns/cities have had this information permanently embossed on tags as was previously done with the NYS Agriculture & Markets tags.

However, some town/city clerks have “cut some corners” and provided this information on a sticker affixed to the tag. This system is not working, and the stickers are not lasting more than a few days and dog owners are not aware of how important the information on the sticker is to identifying their dog.

Also, it is required that the license ID tag be affixed to your dog’s collar whenever it leaves your property. Dog owners should also consider purchasing ID tags for each dog’s collar that contains up-to-date telephone contacts. Owners should also consider micro-chipping their dogs (and cats, too) in case they should become separated from their collar (cats should have breakaway collars).

A dog is required to be licensed in the city/town in which it resides once it has reached 4 months of age. A rabies vaccination is required for licensing.

For more information to assist with lost/found pets, go to our website at www.stlawrencevalleyspca.org.

Karen Cunningham

The author is president of the board of directors for the St. Lawrence Valley SPCA

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