All about animals: Registering your dog with the town

August 1, 2013

Williston has some 600 registered dogs—though Town Clerk Deb Beckett said that doesn’t necessarily reflect the number of dogs in town.

“In the last six to eight years, there’s been a constant decline in the number of people who are registering,” Beckett said. “I know there’s more than 600 dogs in Williston.”

Not only does state statute require dogs to be registered, it’s the best way to reconnect with your dog if it gets lost, Beckett said.

Police officers—who act as animal control in Williston—will not immediately return a stray dog that is not licensed with the town, even if it has a name tag with a phone number, said police dispatcher Deborah Davis.

“The town tag is what counts,” Beckett said.

Police bring the lost dog to a kennel, and the owner will be called and fined for not having a license—$35 for first offense, $50 for second and $75 for third. The owner must then pay for a license and for the time their dog spent in a kennel.

“That takes quite a bit out of a person’s day,” Beckett said. “We don’t want to have to bring them to the pound. When we can reunite the dog and owner with one simple phone call, all is good.”

Police officers have a list of registered dogs by tag number, so they can tell who owns a dog immediately.

Registering your dog also tells people that the dog is up to date on its rabies vaccines.

Dog licensing typically takes place between January and April 1, and costs $10 (licenses after April 1 are $12). By comparison, if you’ve waited until now to register your dog in South Burlington, it’ll cost you $53-$59. Your wallet will take an additional $39 – $45 hit if you have an unregistered cat.

Dogs are the only animals that must be licensed in Williston.

Beckett said $4 of every license goes to the state and the rest goes toward tag and administrative costs.

—Stephanie Choate, Observer staff