- Chris Stewart Staff Writer
Like every other dog in the state, Daphne, Gunner, Jax, Nash and Recon are required to have a license.
But those five animals and four other local police dogs received their licenses free Friday from the Montgomery County Auditor’s Office due to the community service they provide. The office used a Friday event to remind residents of a Jan. 31 deadline to purchase or renew 2018 dog licenses.
“As a dog owner myself, I know it’s important,” said Karl Keith, Montgomery County Auditor. “If you were to lose your dog, the best way to get the dog home is for it to have a license and be wearing a license.”
For dogs not doing police work, the license fee is $20 for spayed or neutered dogs and $24 for dogs that have not been altered, although there are some exceptions, according to the auditor’s office.
Dog licenses must be renewed annually, unless the owner has a three-year or permanent license, which can only be purchased in-person at the Auditor’s Office.
The licenses are available year-round at the auditor’s office as well as the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center. but through Jan. 31 are also available at many area government centers and vet clinics.
Licenses can also be purchased online by following the links on the auditor’s website. More than a third of the more than 60,000 licenses sold in 2017 were purchased online, according to the auditor’s office.
There are about 20 police dogs serving in various county jurisdictions, said Rob Streck, chief deputy at the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
“When there is a burglary, when there is a patient that has dementia and missing … it’s these dogs that are out there day in and day out, no matter what the weather is, tracking this stuff down,” he said. “They are phenomenal for our community.”
Streck said the specialized K9s that can track down suspects, find the wayward and sniff out drugs and bombs require expensive training and care which is cost prohibitive for some departments.
“In the K9 world, not every agency can afford to have a dog. They are expensive,” Streck said. “So when you buy a dog, you just don’t go down to the ARC (Animal Resource Center), unfortunately.”
But proceeds from license sales do go to the Animal Resource Center to help care for stray and lost animals until they can be adopted.