Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Putting Teeth in Dog Licensing Laws

Here in the United States, getting a dog license is easy. You simply pay a certain amount of money to some local governmental entity, and you're issued a tag to attach to your dog's collar.

In many areas, the issuance of a dog license is associated with the animal's rabies vaccination status. So, whenever you take your dog to the vet for that dreaded rabies shot, the license is updated.

Good idea, and it's one that has pretty well eliminated canine-borne rabies in the United States.

Unfortunately, our current system of dog licensing fails to solve another significant problem, and that is the competence of the owner. Far too many lousy dog owners out there.

I'm sure that you've experienced this first-hand.You try to talk to a neighbor about controlling his or her barking dog, and you're met with cluelessness, indifference, or downright hostility.

With education, some of these people could become responsible dog owners. Others? Let's just say that they have no business owning a dog.

I've heard that in other countries, dog licensing laws are much stricter. Take, for example, Switzerland. From what I've been told, you have to take a course at your own expense, then pass a written test, before you can get a dog license.

What's covered in the Swiss course, I don't know. Anyone care to enlighten me?

But it would be easy to include coverage of nuisance barking in a dog licensing course. Just put on a recording of non-stop barking and just let it play. Five minutes, 10 minutes, it doesn't matter. But I think that such a demonstration would make the point about barking dog noise. Then the course could cover the need for training dogs not to bark unnecessarily.

The Department of Shameless Self-Promotion. Is your neighborhood full of clueless dog owners? The indifferent types? Or the blatantly hostile? Give them a piece of your mind without raising your voice. Check out the bumper stickers and tee shirts in my QuietBarkingDogs store.


  1. Pet OWNER licensing is a capital idea, one who's time has come!!!

    I did a little research on the Swiss pet regulations. It appears that some "Cantons" (local governments) require that dog owners take a training class prior to owning a dog. From:

    Again, it depends on locality, but apparently it is legal for Swiss cities to demand that owners pass a training class, first, and several do so.

    Many swiss cities also have "BSL Light" in that stricter requirements are in order for so-called dangerous breeds.

    In any case, its time to start licensing the OWNER and registering the ANIMAL. Even without a training class req, or a minimal training class, its something to hold over their head when they get out of line. An ounce of prevention is a pound of proverbial cure.

  2. How about cat licensing? In the State of New York, it is a law that cats must be vaccinated against rabies, but there is no way to enforce this because licenses for cats are not required. Dogs can't get a license unless they are up to date on their rabies vaccine, and that's a good thing, but what about cats?

    I think cat owners should be required to have licenses for their cats, just as dogs owners are required to have licenses for their dogs. Outdoor cats are as annoying as outdoor dogs, but in a different way. Dogs bark, sometimes excessively, but loose cats howl at night, and leave poop, smelly pee, and dead things on neighbor's property. Both can be great, but both can be annoying. Depends on the owner.

    Cat owners should have to get licenses and take a test to prove that they know it is WRONG to let their cats roam on other people's property.

    I believe that what is good for the goose, is good for the gander. Fair is fair. If dog owners have to get licenses, then so should cat owners.

    The fees collected could be put into the animal shelter system. Dogs are not the only animals that wind up in shelters. Cats do too, and it's about time the cat owners share the burden with the dog owners of funding the shelters. Amen.

    1. Far be it from me to disagree with cat licensing. I live in a neighborhood full of roaming cats. Some are feral. Others are owned by people who don't take the responsibility to control them.

      Bottom line is: Cats do NOT belong in nature. They are far too destructive to native birds and other species.

  3. Heh,heh,heh...If you think that barking is the problem, wait till they (the dog owners) start letting them go, cause they can't afford them any more. I am writing about this subject,from my own neck of the woods and I feel really sad that you in the US are having these issues too. If it is of any comfort to you, things can get a whole lot worse.

  4. Allowing a dog to be alone in a backyard is actually very hazardous for the dog. When dogs run that fenceline barking and being territorial, they open themselves up to numerous (expensive) injuries. Dogs have torn their cruciate ligaments doing that, and they have torn their nails (off) - ouch! I've seen it happen.

    People, for the good of the dog - keep him in the house and walk him on a leash for exercise, or take him in the (properly fenced)yard to play a structured game of fetch, then, back inside with the family.

    Do be careful, though, when you walk, because there are so many irresponsible dog owners out there who are careless in the containment department with their aggressive dogs. This has become a real problem, especially in a neighborhood glutted with pit bulls and their like. If this is the case with your neighborhood, then just know that a very famous veterinarian/dog expert of yesteryear once said that 15 minutes of fetch was worth all the walking you could spare. For the dog. You'll have to join a gym!