I ran across a great website the other day. It is the Vermont League of Cities and Towns and on that website is an e-book titled ”The Big Book of Woof.” You can’t not read this, right!?
Having a dog myself and having to deal with dogs while walking or showing houses, it seemed like a good time to address this subject. Cats may be another story but dogs are for sure a different animal. Having been bitten three times in my life so far, I always wondered what the rules and regulations were in regards to owning a dog. This is a must read for anyone. Let me see if I can trim this down to an article sized report.
First comes the subject of licensing. Licensing requires the dog owner to provide proof of current vaccinations which has virtually eradicated canine rabies in Vermont. According to the Vermont Department of Health, only one dog has tested positive for rabies in the state since 2002. Compare that to the number of cats, six, that have tested over the same period of time and you might wonder why cats aren’t required to be licensed. The state law only requires that all domestic animals be inoculated against rabies and does not mandate the licensing of cats. Towns may do so by ordinance but so far, I don’t know of any towns near me that require this. Might not be a bad idea, actually.
The town clerk issues yearly dog licenses. Fido will be issued license tags which will allow town officers and others to identify the dog and contact the owner if it is found running amok or impounded — doggy jail. By the way, the fee for licensing spayed or neutered dogs is half the fee of an unneutered dog. There is a mandatory $3.00 fee per license to help fund the state’s spay and neuter program. Be sure your dog has a collar and wears it and don’t forget to hang that nice little piece of license jewelry on it along with another tag with your phone number.
Interesting for me was to read about the requirements for a Pet Dealer permit, a Breeding (or Special) License and even one for Working Farm Dogs. Then there is a Doggie Tourist license. What’s with that? The doggy woof book describes it this way: “It’s a dog’s life, which is why some of them like to vacation in Vermont. And who could blame them? We have rolling open spaces and of course plenty of trees.”
Ha, Ha – good point. Dog owners must remember to bring their tags and proof of current rabies vaccinations covering the period they’ll be here. If they are properly tagged, there is no need to get them a Vermont license so long as their stay doesn’t exceed 90 days, but who’s counting? I mean, seriously, who’s counting??
There is a whole section on enforcement and the laws that apply but this one really caught my eye. It is titled “Bounty on dog, killing or worrying sheep.” Huh? Had to read that twice. Apparently a selectboard can place a bounty on the head of any dog caught in the act of killing or worrying sheep. The bounty is set by statute at $5.00 per tail. Yikes. Save your dog’s tail and don’t let them worry those sheep!
I’m barely through the first few pages and there’s so much more to learn. There is a chapter on Animal Cruelty, Service Dogs, Abandoned and Stray Dogs, and one titled Potpourri — a mix of several miscellaneous subjects. The back of this publication includes a number of useful forms, other requirements and lots of helpful contact information.
Other titles include “Bad Dog or Bad Owner?”, “The Vicious Dog Hearing,” “Reasons Why Dogs Bite,” and “Dog Talk.” Dog Talk is literally just that — what kind of bark or sound your dog makes mean different things. We dog owners understand that, I think, but it goes into details as to what a bark, growl, grunt or whimper means. My dog — she just whines.