The Town of Hartford has 768 licensed dogs as of May 1, and the Town Clerk’s Office is happy for those dogs and grateful to their owners.
Licensing is not a money-making venture for the town, with funds going to the State to support the Vermont Spay Neuter Incentive Program (VSNIP). VSNIP seeks to reduce pet overpopulation by helping income-eligible Vermonters – whose dogs came to them for free or a small fee – pay just $27 to have their dog spayed or neutered. The Town actually seeks to save money on licensing by not incurring the costs of mailing owners notifications, waiting until mid-year to send reminders only to owners of dogs previously licensed. Of the 133 in that pool as of today, some will have moved away while others will sadly have passed away.
While those notifications are regrettable, the Clerk’s Office states emphatically that licensing is of greatest benefit to the dogs themselves. Missing Pets of the Upper Valley, a Facebook page followed by over 7,500 people, has proven a successful tool in reuniting dogs with their owners. If a Hartford dog is tagged, the Clerk’s office can access owner and address records back to 2005. Additionally, the dog’s name is on file, allowing locators to provide some immediate stress relief to the pet.
Some owners with microchipped dogs mistakenly believe town licensing is therefore unnecessary. Licensing is still required, and the Clerk’s office warns owners who have received dogs from out of the area to be sure the microchip company’s registration has been updated – a dog lost from Wilder isn’t helped by an outdated Waco address.
In the case of a suspected or actual dog-bite incident, a licensed dog with a current rabies certificate will allow for certain safeguards in procedure in the case of impoundment.
Dog licenses are generally available the first week in January and should be purchased by April 1: $9 for spayed/neutered and $13 unsprayed/unneutered. After April 1, the cost rises $2 and $4, respectively. A current rabies certificate is required or needs to be on file. If you have a dog that is new to you and the Town, then proof of spaying or neutering and current rabies certificates are required. The Office is open Monday to Friday, 8AM to 5PM. Don’t be shy about late registration: they want your dog licensed first and foremost to safeguard your pet.