Animal funds

East Haven Animal Control estimates that 60% of dogs in the city are unlicensed

EAST HAVEN – Just because all dogs six months or older are supposed to be licensed according to state law, doesn’t mean they are, city clerk data and control show information city ​​animals.

From July 1, 2021 to present, 239 dog licenses have been sold, records show, according to City Clerk Lisa Balter. Sean Godejohn, the city’s assistant animal control officer, estimated that 60% of dogs in the city still do not have a license.

Animal Control keeps track of authorized dogs using a computer system, Godejohn said, so it estimates the number of unauthorized dogs using that data.

“There are definitely thousands of them,” Godejohn said in reference to the number of dogs in town. “Without me going to every house and knocking, it would be very difficult to give you a figure that is even close to accurate.”

Godejohn said he’s come across many people who just don’t know their dog should be allowed.

He attributes the decrease in licenses to the lack of advertisements reminding residents that under state law dogs must be licensed with the city clerk’s office, but also to the different ways people can adopt or buy animals today compared to the past.

When the dogs were adopted from the East Haven Animal Shelter, Godejohn and his partner reminded people that they needed to register their dogs. Now people can get dogs from online places like Craigslist, other rescues, or other states or regions and are not told about licensing.

“A lot of these dogs were shipped in from the south and they’re supposed to have a health certificate and a lot of them are coming in without a health certificate,” Godejohn said. “People who breed dogs are already breaking the law, they’re not going to tell people, ‘Hey, we’re breaking the law, but make sure your dog is licensed.'”

A dog license costs $8 a year for neutered female dogs and neutered male dogs, or $19 for those who are neither neutered nor neutered, Balter said. The city withholds $1 from each license issued, according to the city clerk.

Ten cents from each license goes to the University of Connecticut for investigation and research into the cause, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of canine disease, in accordance with state law.

For the $8 license, $2 is sent to the State Animal Population Control Fund; $6 is sent for the $19 license.

Some goes to animal control, though Balter isn’t sure exactly how much.

“The remaining funds are used to purchase dog license supplies for the year, such as tags, postcards, paper, envelopes and more,” Balter said.

There is a late license fee of $1 per month; however, there could be a $75 fine if an individual’s dog is found without a tag.

Ultimately, however, Godejohn said licensing is not a major animal control concern.

“It’s not that we’re not doing our job, it’s just the fact that there are much bigger things going on and bigger fish to fry,” he said.

These larger fish include dog bites and animal cruelty. Animal control sees about two dog bites per month and, on average, one major case of cruelty every three months, Godejohn said. Then there are incidents of loose animals, noise complaints, and other issues.

Godejohn and his partner, Owen Little, are the only full-time Animal Control employees. There is a part-time staff member working there to make sure the officers have time off, as they are usually on call in addition to their regular hours.

Godejohn said he reminds owners to license their dogs and they usually do, but for animal control licensing is still not a priority – the health and lives of the dogs are. .

“In the grand scheme of things, I’d rather see him take the dog to the vet and take care of it…rather than get the dog licensed,” Godejohn said.

The number of dogs allowed in East Haven has dropped significantly since 2016, according to data from the city clerk.

While 239 dog tags have been sold so far this fiscal year, that number is down more than 850 since the 2016-17 fiscal year, according to Balter.

Records from the former City Clerk show that from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, East Haven sold 1,098 tags. The following year, this number decreased slightly to 1,093. The numbers continued to decrease in 2018-2019 to 995 tags.

There was no information present for 2019-20 at the city clerk’s office and Balter said the former clerk must have misfiled the document at the office.

From 2020 to 2021, the city sold 861 dog tags, according to city records.

Godejohn said dogs can be licensed at any time of the year, but June serves as the licensing month and ideally people should get their pets before the start of the next tax year on July 1.

“More than scaring people off by saying it’s a fine, the important thing about getting the dog license is just that if someone finds your dog, we can bring him home,” he said. said Godejohn.

Licensing information for East Haven can be found at the City Clerk’s Office. website and can be completed in person at City Hall.

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