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The 2020 census doesn't begin until next April.  But in Lansing another census is underway.  Dogs.  Lots of dogs.  You may already have been visited by the Town's Dog Enumerator, whose job it is to visit every residence in the Town and village of Lansing to confirm the dog pupulation -- er... population.  Town Clerk Debbie Munson reported on the enumeration's progress at the last Town Board meeting, and in the three weeks since another 67 new dogs have been counted.  That brings Lansing's dog population to 1602, and Deputy Clerk Jessie Hall estimates another 180 will come into the fold as this year's dog enumeration continues.

"We have to give Jessie all the credit," Munson says. "Jessie gets the handwritten lists back from the dog enumerator. She goes through them to double check whether they are already licensed or not.  After a few weeks she sends out letters.  She also processes license applications, and enters information into the computer, and mails the license to people who applied by mail rather than coming in in person."

Between 3/1/19 to 6/5/19 355 new dogs have been licensed, and Deputy Clerk Jessie Hall estimates another 180 will come to light as the enumeration continues.  Owners found to have unlicensed dogs are given plenty of notice before penalties kick in.

"The dog enumerator drives around to every household in the town and Village of Lansing, because we also license for the village.," explains Munson. "He knocks on doors.  He looks for evidence of dogs in the yard.  He has a master list of licensed dogs as of March 1st, and he compares that list to his list.  For every address he writes the information.  If he is unable to speak to the homeowner he leaves a letter on the door."

The letter gives the owner a couple of weeks to get their dog licensed.  If they don't do that Hall mails a second letter giving a new deadline, and listing the information they must provide: a valid rabies certificate, proof of whether the dog has been spayed or neutered, and a form they can fill out to send back.  This letter warns that if the dog isn't licensed by the specified date a ticket will be issued.

If a ticket is issued there is an additional $10 fee, plus a court date.  According to Lansing Town Law the fine is not less than $50, but may be more at the judge's discretion.

The $10 fee is similar to a 'late fee' not only during the enumeration, but also for license renewals, to help cover additional costs in the Clerk's office that are not entirely covered by the fees.

"Of course there is a lot of extra cost to our office, such as mailing and time," Munson told the Town Board last month.  "We're using a lot of extra ink and paper and postage."

Town Supervisor Ed LaVigne said those expenses may be reimbursable to the Clerk's Office budget from a dog enumeration budget line.

Information and fees are listed on the Town Web site.  The least costly licensing fee is for spayed and neutered dogs.  Lansing conducts the dog enumeration every five years.

Munson says that part of what Hall does is error checking to make sure that a dog reported as unlicensed actually does need a license.  And there is plenty of work left to do.

"We have about 180 more to do," Munson says. "Some of them, when you confirm them... that dog died, or that dog was just visiting... It's going to be close to that.  It's safe to say that 180 more dogs still have to get in here to get licensed."

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