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Police Department to Get More Aggressive on Unlicensed Dogs

Dog owners who have not gotten a dog license may want to head up to the Town Clerk’s Office at City Hall and get a license before the police find out and present fines.

“In the past when we came across people who did not have their dogs licensed, we would ticket them,” said Sgt. Paul Keller. “Because we have an overpopulation of dogs it has become apparent that if we don’t take enforcement action the problem is not going to get better.”

There are City ordinances and state fines for at least $75 that will be given to unlicensed dog owners. The City ordinance calls for dogs to have rabies and parvovirus shots. A City license is $8.

“You should be getting these shots for your dog anyways,” said Keller. “We are giving a pass on those who do not have parvo right now because it is a new law, but they should have rabies if nothing else.”

The City held a low cost rabies & parvo clinic in June and may hold another one in October.

“Parvo is very contagious for dogs and once they get it, survival is not very good and it is expensive to get dogs treated,” said Keller. “At the pound, dogs are stray and come in and out. Irresponsible dog owners throw their dogs out and have never given them a vaccine and so they are very susceptible to parvo.”

If a dog comes to the pound and does not exhibit signs, the pound houses them. Often at a later date, a dog will get sick and exhibit signs of parvo and need to be put down. This shuts down facilities for two weeks and leaves other dogs in the pound susceptible to receiving the virus.

“It costs the City money to shut down as we need to use another facility to house incoming dogs,” added Keller. “People need to understand when you have a dog there are state statutes to take care of dog. Dogs get sick. It takes money to have a dog. They need to exercise and be trained. Many people get puppies and do not understand the time and costs it takes and others do not feel the rules apply to them.”

New Britain is one of the first cities in the country to adopt a breeding permit.

In order to get a breeding permit, owners must submit appropriate City forms, the fee, show that there is an indoor or outdoor space to breed the dogs and raise the offspring in a safe, sanitary and humane condition. The police department will evaluate the physical and behavioral characteristics regarding the suitability of particular dogs to breed. The dog identified in the breeder’s permit must be micro-chopped. The police department may deny a breeding permit for various reasons.

Anyone not following these policies may have their dog impounded, pay fees of over $250 and not allowed additional dogs on the property.

“You can pick up a breeders permit for $199 at the police department,” said Keller. “We plan on taking enforcement after the first year because not everyone knows. We will start documentation. If we see dogs are being bred and you have no permit, we will check again and you need to have permit. In this new ordinance we can take away dogs and will do it.”

Four new officers have been trained to enforce these laws.

Keller said only about 1,200 dogs are licensed in New Britain and she believes there are over 10,000 dogs in the City.

“There are many multi-dog owners,” Keller said. “I’ve seen 30 dogs in an apartment. There is an overpopulation problem and people are not caring for them properly.”

There is also a benefit to owners for having a license. If the dog gets out and is lost and found by the animal control, it can be returned.

“We can look up by the license where the dog lives and you will get it back right away,” Keller said. “A survey is also being done through the department of agriculture who will have people going door to door to find out how many dogs people have. It is similar to a census.”

That survey will give the City information, but will not result in fines.

For the public’s convenience the Town Clerk’s Office has set up the dog license application form on-line at http://www.newbritainct.gov/. Select City Services and Town Clerk to get to the Town Clerk web page. Click on Licenses to download the form. If you wish to submit and pay for the license(s) by mail, return the license application form, your dog(s) vaccination certificates, a self-addressed stamped envelope and a check payable to: New Britain Town Clerk Office.