Buying a dog tag has its benefits for owners

It’s time to get your 2013 dog tag. Dog tags are sold through the county for $16. That price is in effect until Jan. 31. Once February arrives, the price goes up to $32.

We look at not getting a tag as a calculated risk on the owner’s part. Failure to register your dog is a misdemeanor and owners could face a fine of up to $150, according to dog warden Kelly Schubert.

Although more than 11,500 dog tags were sold last year, Schubert says most of the canines she encounters in her job aren’t tagged.

That’s unfortunate, because many owners may not realize buying a tag can be a good thing. If your dog is picked by Schubert and there’s a dog tag issued, officials can use the tag’s information and identify the dog’s address and take it home right away.

Otherwise, the dog will be taken to the Humane Society shelter. Owners then have to pay a reclamation fee to get the animal back, pay the fine for not having a tag, and pay the $32 to buy a tag.

State law requires dogs to be put up for adoption once they’ve been at the shelter for three days. So, your dog could be adopted out to another owner, all because you didn’t pay the $16 dog tag fee this month. And if you don’t think to check at the shelter, this could all happen without your knowledge.

Your $16 can buy some peace of mind, especially if you’re worried your dog might run off or be picked up by the dog warden. Why risk it?

A list of places where tags are sold appeared in the weekend edition of The Times. Tags also are sold at the county auditor’s office in the courthouse and at the Humane Society shelter at 90 Mount Tom Road, Marietta.

We urge all Washington County dog owners to buy a tag this month. It’s not just another fee you have to pay. Buying a tag could pay off in a big way down the road.

Like we said, not getting a tag is a calculated risk. And it’s one you’re taking with your family’s pet.