The deadline for purchasing 2013 Lucas County dog licenses was Jan. 31. But many dog owners didn’t renew their dog’s tags.
This year, instead of a reminder letter, the dog warden opted for something a little more creative.
The Lucas County Dog Warden is sending about 7,000 postcards to dog owners who registered one or more dogs in 2012, but did not renew licenses in 2013.
The colorful postcard with the headline “Forget something?” shows a confused man with his hand on his forehead and a woeful basset hound looking at him with sad eyes.
The card asks: “Did you forget to purchase your 2013 dog license(s)? We don’t have current tags for your dog(s) on file this year. See the back of this card for more information.”
Licenses can be purchased at locations throughout the county.
For a list of vendors and an online option, dog owners can look at the county auditor’s Web site at www.co.lucas.us/index.aspx?nid =1398.
Recipients of the postcard are asked to purchase a license and call in the number to the dog warden’s office within two weeks of receiving it at 419-213-2800 to avoid further contact and citations.
Those who have received the card in error are asked to call the auditor’s office at 419-213-4406. That includes those whose dogs have died, Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle said.
“We don’t send cards to folks whose dogs were getting up in age in 2012,” she said. The cutoff is at about 8 or 9 years old.
Ms. Lyle designed the postcards herself.
Besides being a little harder to ignore than a standard letter, Ms. Lyle said the postcards were more economical.
The approximate cost of the postcards is $2,950, plus staff time to print and affix labels.
The approximate cost for letters would be $3,880 plus time to fold the paper, stuff the envelopes, and print and affix the labels.
There are several reasons why residents might not buy licenses, she said.
“I think there are a variety of reasons people don’t license their dogs including cost, philosophical opposition, just forgot or didn’t get around to it, and possibly fear about reporting that they own dogs either because of the number they own or the breed,” she said.
The upside to buying a license is a dog with tags is able to be returned home quickly.
“We’ll even take it home for you right in the field,” she said, referring to taking a dog directly to its home instead of back to the pound. “[Licensed dogs] are also kept much longer if picked up in a shelter (14 days instead of three days for an unlicensed dog) and provided more medical care if injured.”
After the January deadline, the cost of a license doubles to $50. Dog owners who buy a license now will not be fined. If they don’t buy a license, however, they risk getting a fine if their dog is picked up by the dog warden.
If the postcards fail to rouse dog owners to buy the license, the next step is a visit.
“We have not gone door-to-door, but plan to if staffing allows,” the dog warden said.