Dear Homeward Bound: Why do dogs need to be licensed?

Dear Homeward Bound,
I keep seeing a sign in front of the town clerk’s office that says “Dog Licenses Due April 1”. What does this mean?
Dear Curious,
Good question! We all know dogs don’t drive, right? That’s probably a good thing and so are dog licenses. The sign in front of your town clerk’s office is referring to the fact that the State of Vermont requires all dogs and wolf-hybrids six months of age or older to be registered, by an April 1 deadline, with the town or city in which the owner lives. To register a dog, you have to have proof of a current rabies vaccination and pay a small fee. The fee is lower for dogs that are spayed and neutered. After you pay the fee you will get a metal tag with a number on it. The tag goes on your dog’s collar.
Registering your dog, or “getting him licensed” is a good thing for three main reasons. It helps ensure that dogs are vaccinated against rabies; a portion of the fee that you pay goes to support the state’s fund for low-income Vermonters to get their animals spayed and neutered, and it can help your dog get back to you if he or she is lost. If a person finds your dog and calls the town offices, the people who work there can look up your name and address by the number on your dog’s tag.
Now, if only cats were required to be licensed …
Homeward Bound

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