PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) - Many dog owners in Ottawa County aren't following a state law, which requires pets to be registered. County leaders estimate that there are now more people who don't register their dogs than do and that costs Ottawa County hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
Bruce Tedeschi says getting his dog, Missy, licensed is costly and not a top priority, "Underneath the gas bill, the light bill, the food bill."
Tedeschi is not alone. Ottawa County leaders estimate that up to 70% of dogs are not registered.
"There's probably $250,000 or more that the county could collect," says Brad Slagh, Ottawa County Treasurer.
The state requires dogs to be registered and have rabies vaccinations at least every three years.
"I would feel better to know more people did it, just to know their dogs have all the vaccinations required," says dog owner, Nathan Rosenbaum.
Unlike other counties, Ottawa County doesn't charge a late fee for dogs that are registered late.
However, because registration is declining, county leaders are considering what's known as a dog census.
"It's called a census, its really going out to check if people have their dogs licensed," says Slagh.
When asked about the disadvantage of a dog census, Slagh replied, "It does create some negative feelings towards the county."
Tedeschi says he wasn't aware that the county didn't charge late fees. When WZZM 13 told him, he said he would go register his dog.
The cost of licensing an Ottawa County dog that is spayed or neutered is $10 per year, otherwise it's $25. Three-year licenses are also available at a higher price.