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Are you aware that dog licenses are required by law in Maryland? It's not just a Carroll County requirement, as some people may believe. Maryland law and Carroll County Code Chapter 90 state that all dogs over 4 months of age must have a valid rabies inoculation and a current county dog license.

In Carroll County, licenses are issued annually and expire on Dec. 31 of each year. Dog owners have a "grace period" until Feb. 28 to purchase a dog license at the regular fee rate. Please note that a rabies tag on a dog's collar is not a county dog license.

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The penalties for having an unlicensed dog are: a warning for the first offense, a $50 fine for the second offense, a $100 fine per dog for the third offense, and $100 thereafter.

The current fees are as follows: $5 for a spayed or neutered dog — $3 if you are a senior citizen, 62 or older; $25 for an intact male or female — $10 senior citizen rate, and $1 for a duplicate license, but you must provide the original gold receipt.

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A $10 late penalty will be assessed beginning on March 1 if your dog is found without a license.

It is relatively easy to obtain a county dog license, because several veterinary hospitals in Carroll, some town hall offices, the Humane Society of Carroll County as well as some pet supply stores sell them.

When you purchase a dog license, bring your dog's rabies certificate and proof that the dog has been spayed or neutered, if applicable. After you acquire the license and tag, don't forget to attach the license tag to the "D" ring of your dog's collar when you arrive home and file the gold-colored license certificate in your dog's health folder for record-keeping purposes.

If you plan to purchase a license from your veterinarian's office, call ahead as a courtesy to the staff. This will give them time to prepare the paperwork and tag before your arrival.

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The purchase of a dog license is beneficial to your dog and your community. If a dog wearing a collar with the license tag attached accidently gets loose, owners have a better chance of being reunited with their beloved pet.

In addition, the sale of dog licenses generates over $75,000 annually as revenue for the Carroll County government, which helps to fund county programs and projects.

Please be a good citizen and license your dog.

Where to buy

a dog license

Eldersburg: Eldersburg Veterinary Hospital, Carrolltown Veterinary Hospital, South Carroll Veterinary Hospital, Sykesville Veterinary Clinic.

Finksburg: 140 Veterinary Hospital, Finksburg Veterinary Center.

Hampstead: North Carroll Veterinary Service, Hampstead Town Office, Carroll County True Value.

Keymar: Keysville Mobile Veterinary Services.

Manchester: Town Hall.

Mount Airy: George's Girls, Mt. Airy Animal Hospital, Mt. Airy Veterinary Hospital.

New Windsor: Town Hall.

Taneytown: Antrim Veterinary Hospital.

Taylorsville: Taylorsville Veterinary Clinic.

Westminster: Humane Society of Carroll County; Carroll County Tax Office; Airpark Animal Hospital; Westminster Veterinary Hospital; Carroll County Veterinary Clinic; Feathers, Tails & Scales; Rolling Hills Animal Hospital; Maryland Mobile Vet; Banfield Pet Hospital; and R.D. Bowman & Sons.

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