Dog tag price to go up two dollars

Dog tags in Brown County are increasing in cost from $12 to $14 dollars in 2017.

The Brown County Commissioners recently approved the increase.

Commissioner Daryll Gray said that the fee bump was justified.

“The cost of operation at the animal shelter is going up.  Utilities, supplies and payroll are all increasing,” Gray said.

Commissioner Barry Woodruff said that he felt that the increase was justified as well.

“It’s been three or four years since the tags have gone up.  The number of complaint calls is way down and they are doing the best they can with the resources they have,” Woodruff said.

“It’s a service that we have to have.  The harsh reality is that some people are not going to take care of their animals and it’s up to the rest of us to solve that problem.”

The Brown County Humane Society operates the Brown County Animal Shelter according to an agreement with the commissioners that is renewed each year.

The humane society has received about $104,000 from the Brown County Auditor’s Office in dog tag sales revenue in 2016.

Brown County Humane Society Board of Directors Chairperson Leslie Zurich said that the two dollar increase will generate an additional $20,000.

“Our budget for this year was $170,000,” Zurich said. “We are not supported by tax dollars at all.  All the money coming into the shelter is generated by tag sales, citations, donations and the Humane Society spends 48 percent of it’s budget on the shelter.  Most of that goes to bedding, spay and neuter, vaccinations and so forth,” Zurich said.

“We’ve also paid for renovations at the shelter to modernize it and make the workspace more efficient.”

She added that the humane society has also paid for training for the dog wardens.

Zurich said that approximately 80 percent of the animal shelter budget goes for the salaries of four full time and one part time employee.

She added that the humane society has eliminated 2.5 positions within the shelter in an effort to stay within their budget.

“We’ve tightened the purse strings and cut back on personnel,” Zurich said.

She said that those who pay for dog tags are doing their part to solve animal issues in Brown County.

“The dog and kennel fund is basically for enforcing the law.  Paying the dog warden and giving him the equipment to check on cruelty and neglect or to pick up strays,” Zurich said.

“Brown County has the 16th lowest tag fees in the state of Ohio.  We are way down there at the bottom as far as the cost of a dog tag and we have the highest tag sales per capita in the state.  We are busting our butts to sell the tags.”

Zurich said that besides obeying the law, those who purchase tags get other benefits as well.

“If your dog gets lost and has a tag on it, that’s the best way to get your pet back quickly.  Or if there is a problem with a dog in your neighborhood, those tags pay the salary of the dog warden that comes out to deal with the problem.”

Zurich said that the humane society would like to use some of the money generated by the dog tag fee increase to give the dog wardens a raise.

“They are law enforcement, but they are not getting much more than minimum wage.  Lower pay equals higher turnover, which leads to more training costs and ends up costing more than the small bump in pay we would like to give our wardens.” Zurich said.