Centralia police chief urges dog owners to license pets

By Owen Sexton / owen@chronline.com

Before the late fee goes into effect, Centralia dog owners are urged to obtain their 2024 dog licenses from the Centralia Police Department.

Although cats can also be licensed, it is not required as it is for dogs within city limits.

Centralia Police Chief Stacey Denham told The Chronicle that the program allows officers to reunite dogs with their owners more quickly if the animals are picked up as strays.

Licensing fees start at $10 for dogs that are spayed or neutered and $30 for dogs that are not. They are valid from January 1 to December 31. Proof of the animal’s most recent rabies vaccination is required.

Upon providing documentation, approved low-income, disabled or elderly residents can obtain a lifetime license for just $5.

Anyone with a dog within city limits must obtain a license by the deadline, Feb. 1, 2024, or face an additional $20 fee on top of the licensing fee, Denham said.

License applications can be found online or at Centralia Police Department headquarters at Centralia City Hall.

Although there are licensing and late fees, Denham said they don’t really generate any revenue and often the department will waive late fees as long as an animal owner gets their dog licensed.

“There are a lot of cases where people just don’t know, or they have financial difficulties, and so we don’t charge them a fine, we just charge them a licensing fee because we just want them to Dogs should be licensed.” said.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Denham said his officers didn’t pick up as many stray dogs. During the pandemic, many people got new pets to help cope with loneliness, and now — this year especially, Denham said — many people are learning the hard way that pets can sometimes be escapes. are or are lost.

“Historically, we would go two weeks without a dog. Maybe a big week would be three or four,” Denham said. “Now we regularly have three, four, sometimes 10 dogs.”

Due to the increase in stray dogs, Centralia police officers are now having to devote more time and resources to caring for the animals they find.

“We’re spending an inordinate amount of time trying to find owners, and it seems like we’re getting more and more dogs right now. If you do it twice a week, it’s not a big deal. If you’re doing it every day, now it becomes a big problem,” Denham said.

Recently, two dogs were left outside the Centralia Police Department’s temporary kennel at a city-owned property on Mellon Street. The kennel was built after the Lewis County Animal Shelter stopped accepting stray dogs seized by Denham’s department.

“They were rude, too. We don’t know what happened to them before they were dropped,” Denham added.

Along with the county shelter, Denham said shelters between Portland and Seattle are full and their officers are no longer accepting dogs.

“We have nine kennels now … and we regularly have 10 or 11 dogs at a time,” Denham said.

Additionally, some rescued animals require veterinary care, which the department provides.

Thanks to an ordinance recently passed by the Centria City Council, the department can now charge owners for that maintenance.

The ordinance was passed last month because, by picking up more dogs this year, the department is losing money and needs a way to recover the increased animal bills.

Denham added that she is an animal lover herself and wants to do everything possible to avoid putting dogs down.

While some people choose to have their dogs microchipped, others prefer not to. Denham said those who choose to chip must also license their dogs.

Once a dog has received a microchip, the information on the chip can only be changed by the company that made it.

Because city dog ​​licenses need to be updated annually, if someone moves, their address will be updated with the city when the license is renewed and they don’t need to worry about getting the chip updated. Is.

The Centralia Police Department has a chip scanner.

To apply for a Centralia dog license, visit https://www.cityofcentralia.com/284/Dog-Licensing For an application and directions, or visit the Centralia Police Department at 118 W. Maple St. in downtown Centralia.

For more information, call the Centralia Police Department at 360-330-7680.

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