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Towns in dog license business

A change in rules and regulations at the state level has left towns in a position to take over dog licensing functions.

Recently, the towns of Cicero and Clay held public hearings on the matter to amend the local laws they had on the books to include licensing and all that goes with it - setting fees, sending out notices, providing tags and purchasing or updating software programs - as a town responsibility.

"We have to provide the software [and] buy the tags," Clay Supervisor Damian Ulatowski said. "You [the state] can't keep asking us to do more."

According to Clay Town Clerk Jill Hageman-Clark, her office has worked hard to make sure they have a smooth transition when the time comes. Office staff has already begun using the software so they are familiar with it and ready to roll when licensing is solely on the town's shoulders.

"The clerk's department is one of the busiest departments in the town," Ulatowski said. "I'm not sure how much extra work it will be."

The board approved the change of law and set the fees - $4 for a spayed or neutered dog and $12 for unspayed or unneutered. The fees are "going up minimally," Hageman-Clark said, but Clay will still have the lowest fees in the county.

Cicero Clerk Tracy Cosilmon said her office had been working with the other towns in Onondaga County. She said her office is also hoping for a smooth transition.

"There's not going to be that much change," she said recently. "Information is going to come from the town of Cicero instead of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets."

Cosilmon asked dog owners to be sure to give the most up-to-date information when licensing their pets, particularly where telephone numbers are concerned as many people have done away with home phones and primarily use cell phones.

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