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Lifetime dog tag hearing set

The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously at its regular August meeting to authorize a public hearing for Tuesday, Sept. 10, to amend the county ordinance, allowing for the implementation of lifetime dog licenses.

Donna Bowman Nunnally

A summary in the board meeting packet noted that County Treasurer Donna Bowman Nunnally and county staff were recommending to the board an amendment to two sections of the county code to require citizens to purchase a lifetime dog license instead of an annual dog license as allowed by Section 3.2-6530 of the Code of Virginia.

Nunnally spoke at the August board meeting about the recommendation.

“This will eliminate the annual purchase of a dog tag,” she said.

The summary in the board meeting packet added detail to this point, citing that the proposal would revoke the annual purchase of regular tags, which cost $10, and unsexed tags, which cost $5.

“The taxpayers come in every year, they bring their rabies certificate,” Nunnally said. “What this (proposal) will do, they’ll still have to keep up with their rabies certificates, whether it’s every one year or every three years, how(ever) often they get them vaccinated. They will have to show proof to us that they still have it. If for some reason the rabies certificate runs out — which we will keep track of that as well — if it runs out, it will be void, and they will have to come back in with a current rabies (certificate) and purchase a whole other tag.”

The board meeting packet stated that there is no recommendation to amend the ordinance as it pertains to kennel tags.

“We will still do the kennel tags for those that have the large amounts of dogs,” Nunnally said. “We’ll still offer that…”

The primary purpose of dog licenses is to ensure citizens have their dogs vaccinated for rabies, the board meeting packet highlighted before communicating similar points that Nunnally made in her presentation at the board meeting. An owner will still be required to present proof of rabies vaccination before receiving a lifetime dog license, and the lifetime license shall only be valid as long as the owner resides in the issuing locality and the rabies vaccination is kept current.

The board meeting packet continued by noting that citizens shall submit all updated rabies vaccination certificates to the treasurer’s office for record keeping throughout the lifetime of the canine. If at any time the rabies vaccination expires or the owner does not provide timely proof of vaccination, the tag will be considered void and a new tag must be purchased upon vaccination of the dog.

Currently, veterinarians are required to provide county treasurers the rabies certificate after a dog is vaccinated, the board meeting packet cited. The treasurer is prepared to maintain a database to track when a dog will need to have its vaccination updated.

There is presently no effective process to determine if an owner has had their dog vaccinated for the first time, the packet stated, adding that this will continue to be the case under this new proposal.

Regarding the fee for a lifetime dog license, “The state says that it can range anywhere from $10 to $50,” Nunnally said. “A lot of the localities are going with the $10 tag, so we were just recommending that $10 lifetime dog tag.”

The summary in the packet indicated that the Code of Virginia limits the tax for a lifetime license to no more than $50.

“And also, we do offer duplicate tags now,” Nunnally said. “They’re 25 cents; we’re asking to up that to a dollar.”

This process will reduce tag waste from year to year, simplify the process for dog owners as well as reduce annual upkeep as most rabies vaccinations are valid for three years, the summary in the packet noted. Regular and unsexed tags have generated only $7,500 per year — that is for approximately 1,100 tags. Lifetime tags would increase revenue the first year implemented and then taper off to approximately 200 sales per year, $2,000 annually, not including kennel tag sales.

The summary concluded by citing that a study group approved by the 2016 General Assembly found that lifetime tags would enhance process efficiency and reduce administrative burdens to the local governments. The group unanimously was in favor of local treasurers considering a change from the typical single-year license.

As stated in the county advertisement, the public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 10, at 7:30 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors Room on the third floor of the Prince Edward County Courthouse Annex at 111 N. South St. in Farmville.