All over the country pet owners are neglecting to license their pets in growing numbers. How can cities and towns get residents to adhere to a law they have historically ignored?

Take Franklin County, Ohio for example — according to the Columbus Dispatchonly around 29 percent of the county’s dogs are licensed, a dip from 36 percent seen the previous year.

But Franklin County has nothing on Syracuse, NY where only about 8 percent of the city’s dogs are licensed according to The Post-Standard.

Additionally The CT Post reports that only about 25 percent of pets are licensed in the entire state of Connecticut, with Bridgeport only having a rate of 2.4 percent.

These communities are only a small sampling of dwindling pet licensing rates across the country. And while the reason for the sheer lack of compliance may vary they all have a few things in common.

Old-Fashioned Practices

Government has a tendency to move a little slow when it comes to modernization. Many cities and towns still haven’t joined the 21st century and that is playing a huge role in why no one is licensing their pets.

Many towns only offer dog licensing in person at their Town Hall or through the mail. The limited operating hours at town halls makes this almost impossible for people who work normal 9-5 jobs and mail registration depends on people taking the time to print a form, grab a stamp and find a mailbox.

In 2018 Pew Research reported that 9 out of 10 Americans use the internet. If people are gathering online in huge numbers why not meet them there?

Increase in Fees

Many communities are forced to grapple with a conundrum when it comes to establishing pet licensing fees: you have to increase fees to cover costs, which will ultimately lead to fewer residents licensing pets — leading to more fee increases. This cycle goes round and round.

If all pet owners licensed their pets the generated income would likely be great enough that fees wouldn’t have to increase, maybe ever. But since only 20 percent are paying, their contribution has to play a much bigger part in covering costs.

In the case of Franklin County, Ohio an increase from $12 to $18 is thought to be the culprit to a sharp decrease in licenses issues in 2018 but the fees themselves are still relatively low compared to other communities.

Lack of Payment Diversity

Many municipalities offer residents very few, if any, payment options when it comes to purchasing a pet license.

Take Bridgeport, CT for example with its 2.4 percent compliance rate — the city only allows payments made by check or money order. Do you think if the city allowed people to pay with debit or credit cards that would that increase compliance? Almost certainly.

Many communities balk at credit card processing because of the fees that come with it. But if you could increase compliance even a couple of percentage points you would find yourself quickly mitigating those costs.

No Inter-Department Collaboration

One of the reasons pet licensing is hard to enforce comes down to the lack of communication between departments.

The clerk’s office, town administration, animal control, law enforcement, shelters and more could all use up-to-date pet licensing information but it’s likely that only one or two of those departments have easy access to that information.

If the information isn’t easy to retrieve then the enforcement of pet licensing laws probably isn’t going to be a priority.

Municipalities don’t have to sit by and watch licensing laws be ignored!

Switching from your generic municipal software to something modern and comprehensive can boost licensing significantly. Switching to NEXT Pet Licensing System can allow you to offer different kinds of payments, allow residents to license online and through a mobile app and allow departments to all access the information securely wherever they are. Boost compliance, revenue and cut down on the time spent processing applications!