March is dog license season in Massachusetts. Dogs in the Commonwealth are required to have a 2016 dog license by April 1st.
How to Apply
I put a reminder on my calendar and usually apply for a Boston dog license online. You can also download an application to mail at that page.
If your dog, like my Poppy, is already registered, enter the current license number and all your information should be filled in by the system. Next, you upload photos of a spay certificate and current rabies record. Then, you enter your credit card information and complete the transaction.
If you prefer the snail mail option, you should receive a package in the mail if your dog is currently licensed. If not, and you want to get a license in person, visit the Animal Care and Control Department at 1010 Massachusetts Avenue. Bring a current rabies certificate and a spay/neuter certificate if you have one. A prepared check or money order will save time.
You can also get your license at the City Hall To Go truck at one of its scheduled spots around town. Just bring the same documents and a check with you.
The city has a series of Dog Licensing & Low-Cost Rabies Vaccine Clinics each year. Here's a link to a copy of this year's events. It was in the right-hand sidebar at the time of this writing.
Should Dogs or People Be Licensed?
Over the years, the group of dog lovers that walks with us has often discussed an option of having people licensed as legal caretakers of animals rather than attaching the license to the dog. Then the responsible caregivers could register the animals they have under that license and receive tags for each.
The legislature has a task force looking at a possible statewide Animal Abuse Registry. But, beyond outright abuse, a caregiver’s registry might deny licenses to those who are constant scofflaws or who have a history of dangerous dog offenses.
Of course some enforcement of the current rules and regulations for picking up after your dog and keeping dogs on a leash would have to be a part of any program like this.
Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photos: ©2016 Penny & Ed Cherubino