New Canaan Police to Seek Out Unlicensed Dogs' Owners

It's not too late to license your dog and avoid a $75 fine, but do it before police come to your house because you're on the "delinquency list."


Dog owners who haven’t licensed their pets soon will get a knock on the door and will face a $75 per-canine fine from the New Canaan Police Department.

According to Officer Mary Ann Kleinschmitt of the department’s animal control unit, some 500 dog owners from 2011 hadn’t licensed their pets as of Aug. 1 last year (against a July 1 deadline)—landing on the “delinquent dog licensing list.”

Many of those residents have since registered their dogs, but police officers now will start making house calls on those that haven’t, Kleinschmitt said.

“When we go to the house and if they still live there and still have that dog, they will get a ticket,” she said.

Specifically, the owners will be cited for failure to license a dog, an infraction offense.

If the dog also hasn’t been vaccinated for rabies, the owners face an additional $136 fine, she said. (The state also imposes a $1-per-month fine.)

Dog owners seeking to avoid the late fee (Kleinschmitt herself has to issue the fine as the enforcement officer; Town Clerk is licensing agency) can still get to the Town Clerk at 237 Elm St. for their dog license and their names will be removed from the delinquency list straightaway.

Here’s all the information you need on town dog licenses, straight from the town website. All dogs six months or older must register with the Town Clerk.

TP February 14, 2013 at 12:28 PM
Is it April 1st already ? Is this an April Fool's joke ? Is this how we want to spend our police resources ? Do we really want officers going door to door to 500 houses carrying out searches and issuing fines ? Do we want a Dog Squad walking our streets ? Bulldog Brigade ? Poodle Patrol ? Corgi Cops ? This is crazy .....
Glen K Dunbar February 14, 2013 at 01:16 PM
our dogs are licensed and rabbies up to date. Wish I knew which tag was for which dog for which year. ?? I have a file for each dog and have NO clue what is what in them. Wish someone would sort it out FOR me. Too much work
S Dogood February 14, 2013 at 03:40 PM
Is it worth the revenue - assume it is 500 dogs, not 500 dog owners. Suppose 1/2 did not renew their license therefore that 250 fines of $75 = $18,750. What would it cost us? What is the value to the town to have all of the dog licensed? Lower risk of rabis transmission from dog bites? Easier to find the owners of lost dogs? What else?
Four Jacks February 14, 2013 at 03:58 PM
I agree with TP! What a waste! Have the animal control officer monitor the parking lot at the School House apartments (right next to the police station) to deter town hall employees from parking there when they're supposed to be parking across the street at the church. Saves on gas and lets these residents have their parking spaces back.
JL February 14, 2013 at 04:42 PM
how does the town know who has unregistered dogs? drones spying from overhead?
Michael Dinan (Editor) February 14, 2013 at 05:17 PM
JL: The Town Clerk keeps a record of all registered dogs. If a resident has not notified the clerk that they've moved, the town assumes the dog still is with its owner. Those are the people who are on the delinquent list. I will tell you and other commenters here that the NCPD does exercise discretion in assessing the fine. In fact just this week an owner of three dogs was found to have the animals unregistered -- potentially a $225 fine -- and the NCPD officer was satisfied when the owner agreed to go right then to Town Hall and get it done, and I'll report that in a day or two as part of our Animal Reports feature. -Mike
Michael Dinan (Editor) February 14, 2013 at 08:34 PM
Hey everyone: I spoke to Town Clerk Claudia Weber and I have some context that may be helpful for people who think the town is burning a lot of resources on this effort, however important you think that effort may be. Currently there are 42 dogs whose owners are on the delinquent list. As of Aug. 1, there were about 500 and that was the number I reported in the story above—I just got this new information. It was not my intention to cause consternation or anxiety. -Mike
Cath February 14, 2013 at 08:48 PM
What will they be making house calls for next? To make sure we are feeding our children adequately? To make sure that we have fire alarms? To make sure we've registered our firearms? Or just for the hell of it...
Four Jacks February 14, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Why are they making house calls, can't they call people first and visit if they don't get a response?
Glen K Dunbar February 15, 2013 at 01:35 PM
Why can't someone just help me w/my wifes dogs. Why can't somebody give me a nicer life.
Michael Dinan (Editor) February 21, 2013 at 03:18 PM
Hi all: Seven New Canaan dog owners made their pets "legal beagles" by licensing them since this article ran, NCPD says. -Mike


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