It’s important to keep your dog’s license up to date

Friday, Jan. 19, 2018 9:09 PM

By Chris Nelson

La Plata County Humane Society

One of the things I enjoy the most in my spare time is fly fishing. Each year, I am required by law to purchase a fishing license. If I want to fish in another state or on tribal waters, I am required to buy a license for those waters.

The fees associated with the license can be a burden, but I happily pay them because I know the money goes toward protecting resources and funding projects to enhance fishing habitat.

I also enjoy driving, and the ability it allows me to go to places and fish. Each year, I am required to register my truck. I do this (a little less happily than buying my fishing license) because it’s the law, and it helps to fund and maintain the roads and highways I use to get to work, and more importantly, places to fish. We all dutifully pay registration fees for our cars to keep the roads maintained and avoid the costly citations that come if you don’t do it.

This brings me to licensing your dog. Did you know that all dogs in La Plata County and Durango city limits are required to be licensed? I think many folks do not realize this. Here at the animal shelter, nearly everyone whose dog is picked up running stray claims to be unaware of this being the law. Just like not registering your car, if your dog is not registered, you will be subject to fines and a costly citation.

Besides being required by law, here are a few more reasons it’s important to get Fido a license:

If your dog goes missing, it will drastically improve the chances of him being returned to you. Ninety-five percent of dogs with identification are reunited with their family. Those without are ninety-five percent likely to not be reunited.Because a current rabies vaccine is required to get a license, it will make people feel safer if they find your dog, knowing that he is rabies-free.Licensing fees are far less expensive than the fines you can incur without one, and the funds are used to help support Animal Protection and the shelter. The $10 a year it costs to license your altered dog helps to feed and care for stray dogs and cats.If your dog is not licensed, it’s easy to do. Just bring proof of your dog’s current rabies vaccines to the humane society, and we can get it done for you in a matter of minutes. It is only $10 per year if your dog is spayed or neutered and it can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Chris Nelson is director of Animal Services at La Plata County Humane Society. Reach him at