By Rhonda Baillargeon, LVT
As 2019 begins, it is time to think about licensing your canine family member. In the state of Maine, all dogs must be licensed following state laws. These laws include the age a dog must be to require a license (six months), proof of immunization (a valid rabies certificate provided by the veterinarian administering the vaccine), and a current rabies tag to be placed on the collar of the dog to whom it was issued.
You may be wondering “Why do I need to license Fido?”
Licensing is a means by which municipalities ensure all pet dogs within the town limits have been vaccinated for rabies, a serious disease that can be transmitted to all mammals, including people. It is carried in the wildlife population, and one way to protect people from contracting it is to vaccinate our pet cats and dogs. Most cases of rabies reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are the result of an infected cat that bites its owner. At this time, licensing is not required for cats, but they should still be vaccinated to protect your family and friends.
Not only does licensing help to protect your family and neighbors, the funds collected help to stop animal cruelty. Ninety percent of all dog licensing fees go directly to support investigations of animal cruelty and to support animal control officers who respond to calls regarding lost and found animals.
Licensing can be done at your town office, and the clerk will need to see a copy of your dog’s rabies certificate. To qualify for the reduced licensing fee, a copy of the spay/neuter certificate should also be presented. Most towns require licensing be done by the end of January or penalties may be charged. Some towns are offering licensing online to help those people unable to get to the office during business hours.
To license your dog online, go to www.maine.gov and search for online dog licensing.
Please be a responsible pet owner and license your dog this year.