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Ignoring the rules can be doggone expensive

POLK COUNTY -- If you have a dog that has its adult teeth or is more than 6 months old, you must have it licensed.

POLK COUNTY -- If you have a dog that has its adult teeth or is more than 6 months old, you must have it licensed. Where you get the license, how much it costs and what the consequences are for ignoring the regulation depends on where you live.

But no matter where you get the license you will need vaccination certificates and (when applicable) spay or neuter certificates.

And no matter where you live it is always cheaper to license a dog that has been fixed. If you register with Polk County, you get an additional reduction if your dog has had a microchip inserted under its skin.

"The microchip is smaller than a grain of rice and is a little less painful to inject than a vaccine," Dr. Laura Archer of Ash Creek Animal Clinic said.

"I wish the other cities in the area would follow suit with the county and reward people for microchipping their dogs. It saves a lot of time and money for everyone involved. Not to mention the heartache of losing an animal," she said.

Anyone who lives in the City of Dallas or outside any city limits in Polk County should license their dog at the county sheriff's office on Main Street in Dallas.

One-year and three-year licenses are available. A one-year license for a neutered dog with a microchip is $5; for a neutered dog without a chip it is $10. A license for a non-neutered dog costs $25.

The three-year license fees are $15, $26, and $75.

For dog owners who fail to register on time, an additional $10 fee is required -- unless the county catches them and forces them to register. Then it's an additional $50.

To get the microchip price, a person must have the dog registered with an approved national registry. Veterinarians who administer the microchips also provide information on registering the dog, and many of them will register for their customers.

If you do not live within any city limits there are no noise restrictions on dogs, but there are restrictions on how many dogs you can have. Dallas restricts the keeping of dangerous dogs and noisy dogs.

People unsure of what is prohibited and allowed under Polk County residents should read State of Oregon ordinance chapter 609 - Animal Control; Exotic Animals; Dealers It is available online at

In Independence, licenses are purchased at the Independence Police department between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Like the county, Independence offers a one- and three-year license. A dog's vaccines must be good until the same time as the license expires to qualify for a three-year license.

A one-year license in Independence costs $10 for fixed dogs, and $25 for a non-altered dog. The three-year licenses are $26 and $75. If a person fails to register a dog within 90 days of their license expiratoin, an additional $15 is charged.

Dog owners who fail to license their animals in Independence face a $1,000 fine, possibly the steepest penalty in this area.

If a person living within the city limits has more than three dogs who are 4-plus months old, a kennel permit is required. The cost of a kennel permit depends on whether it is a commercial ($125) or personal kennel ($30).

For questions about permits, call Diane at the Independence Police Department, 503-838-1214.

In Monmouth, dog licensing is handled by City Hall. Only a one-year license is provided, and it costs $8 for a neutered dog and $15 for a non-altered dog. There is no price reduction for having a microchip.

If a resident of Monmouth has five or more dogs, a kennel permit is required. Permits cost $5 per dog per year if the for up to 10 dogs.

Strict noise ordinances for dogs are in effect in Monmouth, and it is illegal in both Monmouth and Independence to buy or sell dangerous dogs within city limits. Both cities define a dangerous dog as a pit bull or any dog that has shown aggressive dangerous behavior.

Monmouth has a $250 fine for buying or selling a dangerous dog. There are also fines for failing to have and display a dog license and for failing to notify police when a dog bites a person or animal.

A dog running at large in Monmouth can cost its owner from $25 to $250, depending on the dog's behavior and whether it is defined as dangerous.

A person allowing a dog to be a public nuisance (which includes excessive barking, a female in heat or dog vandalism/trespassing) could also face a $25 to $250 fine.

All cities and the county charge an impound fee if a dog is picked up roaming the neighborhood. If the dog belongs in city limits, but is picked up in county jurisdiction (or vise-versa) an owner could face both city and county charges.

Impound fees vary depending on how many times the dog has been picked up and who impounds the animal. It could cost $25 up to $100 when a dog is impounded; it depends on what other fines are added.

"It's best to have the dog fixed, microchipped and secured," said County Dog Control Officer John Kincaid. "The sheriff really tries to reward responsible dog owners by offering fee savings on licensing.

"But, it's really all about population control and public safety," Kincaid said.


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