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Concord dog registration deadline is Thursday

Thursday is the deadline to avoid moving into the city’s doghouse.

After that, following a long grace period, it will cost you an extra $25 to register your pooch.

So says Deputy City Clerk Michelle Mulholland, who’s filling in for vacationing City Clerk Janice Bonenfant, and who explained yesterday that dog owners still have time to avoid a fine.

“Now that you’re writing about it, we’ll send out the notices on Thursday,” said Mulholland, who added that the original deadline had been tomorrow.

Registration is proof of a dog’s vaccination against rabies, and local veterinarians are required to contact the clerk’s office to verify the procedure. A small fee paid to the city completes the process.

Mulholland said the initial payment deadline was April 30, but dog owners have been given an additional seven weeks to comply with the statute.

Fees include $7.50 for a spayed or neutered dog, $10 for those that have not been fixed, $2 for dogs owned by seniors 65 or older and a group rate of $20 for a home with at least five dogs.

Through its dog database, the city tracks dog owners each year, checking off those who have registered their pets and noting who has yet to do so. A $1 late fee was assessed once June came, and now that fee jumps an additional $25 for anyone who hasn’t paid by Thursday. Mulholland said her office has contacted late payers as the city has tried to give people a long leash.

“We have a lot of people who are mostly appreciative that we contacted them,” Mulholland said. “We have a few people who may complain about having to pay, but most people, because of our phone calls, have actually been thanking us and saying that it’s a nice service for us to provide.”

The city has 4,800 dogs on file, complete with the dog’s name and breed and compiled from past registrations and contact from vets. The most common names are Molly and Buddy. The rarest dog on file is the combination of a pug and a beagle, a puggle, of which there is only one, while the Belgium toy dog known as a Brussels Griffon is also unique.

Popular dogs include the golden retriever and golden doodle, which combines the retriever and poodle.

“We’re seeing more and more of those,” Mulholland said.

There are about 300 dogs that still have not been registered, Mulholland said, but that is down from previous years, when 400 to 500 holdouts was considered a low number.

“I want to get that number down even more,” Mulholland said. “We’ve never had it down to zero, and that would be nice. But it would be nice to get it down below 100, but this has been a really good year as far as registrations have gone.”

Anyone believing they should be exempt from the registration fee will receive a court date and can plead their case to a judge. Those dogging it could face charges.

To avoid the $25 late fee, dog owners can mail their payment to the city clerk’s office at 41 Green St. or go to the office in person.

Dogs are invited, said Muholland, a dog lover with a white boxer named Kiara.

“A lot of people bring their dogs in,” Mulholland said. “We see dogs coming in all the time.”

(Ray Duckler can be reached at 369-3304 or
rduckler@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @rayduckler.)

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