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Dog owners take note!

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Spring has arrived and your canine companion will be spending more time outside under your supervision and unsupervised in fenced-in areas or on outside leads. Unfortunately, each year many dogs get lost and, although many do eventually find their way home with the assistance of Dog Control Officers, private citizens, and shelter organizations, it often takes more time than necessary.

And, of course, many do not get reunited with their families.

To comply with the law and, if you dog should be lost, to assist with its return, please read on.

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

In addition to an individually assigned number, the license tag has the city or town of residence, state, and the phone number of the city or town clerk embossed on it. If your dog’s license tag does not have this information embossed on it, visit you city or town clerk and request a new tag. Some municipalities have also included a four-digit number for St. Lawrence County and the number assigned to their town or city.

If you should move out of the city or town where the dog is licensed, the dog must be relicensed in its new residence. The tag on the dog is the only way to make the necessary contacts to bring the dog home. Please note: if you move within the licensed city or town, contact your local clerk and update your address and any changes in telephone numbers should also be reported.

It is required that the license ID tag be affixed to your dog’s collar whenever the dog leaves your property. Dog owners should also consider purchasing ID tags for their dog’s collar that contains up-to-date telephone contacts. Owners should also consider microchipping their dog (and cat, too) in case they should become separated from their collar (cats should be wearing breakaway collars with an appropriate-sized ID tag).

For more information to assist with lost/found pets go to our website at www.stlawrencevalleyspca.org and click on “Lost a Pet” or “Found a Pet”.

PET CARE TIP FOR THE DAY: Your dog will appreciate taking walks with you as the weather improves. It will give both of you physical exercise and will be a valuable socialization exercise for your dog. Make sure your dog is fitted with a properly sized collar/harness (it should not be able to back out of the equipment) and use a leash that is not longer than 6’ that enables you to control your dog.

Children can assist with walking their canine companion but should not be permitted to walk the dog without adult supervision.

While teaching your child to walk properly with their dog, use a second leash that is a back-up to prevent injury to them or their dog.

Karen Cunningham is president of the St. Lawrence Valley Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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