Dog licensing in St. George: Where do those fees go, anyway?

ST. GEORGE — For dog owners, two things are certain: death and licensing fees. Though licensing fees are slight compared with vet bills — $10 for dogs who are spayed or neutered, $20 for those who aren’t — they recur annually. So, what are they for?

Roger Lamson with Jill II at RC Snow Dog Park in St. George, Utah, Jan. 11, 2021 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News

“I assume they go to animal control,” said dog-owner Roger Lamson, who was at Snow Dog Park Monday afternoon. “But I have no idea what they’re actually for.”

Luckily, St. George Police Lt. Ivor Fuller, who has also served for seven years as the director of animal services, has some insight on the subject.

“Licensing fees primarily got towards disease and rabies control and returning lost animals to their owners,” Fuller said. “Our number one goal is to keep animals safe and return them to their owners, if possible.”

Since 2013, Fuller has built his staff up from five employees to 11. He’s also helped the shelter establish and maintain a 98% save rate, which makes it a no-kill shelter.

A group of happy dogs explore the smells at RC Snow Dog Park in St. George, Utah, Jan. 11, 2021 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News

“We’re always trying to improve our responses to community needs,” Fuller said. “We’re used as a model for shelters that are trying to become no kill shelters.”

Additionally, since Fuller took the reins in 2013, Animal Services has implemented a trap, neuter and release program for feral cats.

“It’s not very effective to euthanize these animals,” Fuller said. “We pick them up, neuter or spay them, vaccinate them and then return them to roughly the same area. Then they aren’t having litters of kittens or spreading rabies.”

With his dogs Jack and Jill frolicking in the grass around his feet, Lamson said he’s generally not a fan of taxation.

“If it was honest, that’d be one thing,” he said. “But you don’t know where it goes.”

Fuller and his team have achieved this success on roughly $60,000 annually. While licensing fees help, much of Animal Services’ budget comes from taxes.

Dog licenses expire on Dec. 31 each year, and they go on sale Jan 1. To apply, you’ll need: a completed dog license application, proof of rabies vaccination certificate for each dog, spay or neutered certificate for each dog (if applicable) and a check payable to the city of St. George. Credit Cards are accepted at the Animal Shelter and in-person at the city offices.

To get your dog license in person, go to the city offices at 175 East 200 North, St. George, Utah, or St. George Animal Shelter located at 605 East Waterworks Drive, St. George, Utah.

You can also mail your application to the city of St. George, Attn. Dog License 175 East 200 North, St. George, Utah 84770.

Renewals are required by Feb. 28. After that date, there’s a $5-per-month late fee, with a maximum penalty of $20 per dog. Owners of unlicensed dogs may be cited and fined.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!