Dog license fee lowered in Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY — At the urging of Town Clerk Ann Webster, Middlebury selectboard members on Tuesday reduced Middlebury’s dog license fees by $5.
The state currently imposes a standard licensing fee of $4 per spayed/neutered dog and $8 per unaltered dog, plus $1 per license to fund rabies control and $4 per license for the Vermont State Neuter Incentive Program. In 1996, the Middlebury selectboard voted to add $10 — the maximum allowed under the state’s fee schedule — to “cover the costs of local rabies programs.” This produced Middlebury’s current dog licensing fee of $19 for altered dogs and $23 for unaltered dogs.
But Webster noted Middlebury doesn’t run a rabies clinic, yet still charges dog licensing fees that are considerably higher than surrounding towns. She said most towns she has surveyed have imposed local surcharges of $1 to around $2.50 per license, compared to the $10 for Middlebury.
“I don’t think this it’s fair to add the $10 just to supplement the general fund,” Webster told the selectboard.
She added she feared Middlebury’s comparatively high dog licensing fee might be deterring some residents from registering their animals. There are around 450 registered dogs in Middlebury, according to Webster.
Middlebury officials noted the town does employ an animal control officer and supports Homeward Bound, the Addison County Humane Society. That support, selectboard members said, could perhaps justify a $5 local surcharge, as opposed to the $10 currently imposed. The board took that action on Tuesday. Creating a new dog license fee of $14 for altered dogs and $18 for non-altered dogs.
The new rate will take effect July 1.

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