County cracks down on unlicensed dogs
FLINT, Mich. (AP) - June 25, 2012 (WPVI) -- Hey, was that a bark?
With 18 full-time enforcers, a Michigan county is going door-to-door to find dogs that don't have a license, an effort that could raise more than $250,000 in fees this summer.
More than 1,700 dog owners in Genesee County bought licenses during a two-week amnesty when delinquent fees were waived. Now the campaign is getting serious with workers prepared to sell licenses on the spot or write tickets in the county 50 miles north of Detroit.
Tommie Johnson, a retiree who coordinates the dog census, tells The Flint Journal that many roads "have never been touched before."
He said people have told him, "'I've been living here 40 years and nobody ever bothered me."
College student Mandya Burnett wears a necklace of metal licenses as she does her job. Tickets can be dismissed if an owner later produces a rabies certificate and $40, four times the usual fee for a dog that has been spayed or neutered.
"People come to the door asking, 'Why are you coming to my house?' We're going all over Genesee County," Burnett said.
Workers travel in pairs and are told to write down addresses where a dog might live but no one answered. Johnson advises them to avoid conflict.
"In this day and age, people get up on the wrong side of the bed and are just looking for a confrontation," he said.
In a Flint neighborhood, Mark Walker, 51, showed a license for Rocky, his German Shepherd.
"You'll find in this area, 95 percent of dogs are licensed," he said. "It's your responsibility ... but some neighborhoods, people really can't afford it."
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