• 20220401-121334-GT20040720LEADERSHIP20GOLDEN-2
  • 20220401-120853-GT20040720LEADERSHIP20GOLDEN-1

While puppies might not need an annual license to be so adorable, they do need one, as do all dogs, that reside in unincorporated Jefferson County and in the cities of Arvada, Edgewater, Golden, Lakewood, Westminster and Wheat Ridge.

And licensing your pet is as easy as logging online.

That’s the message Leadership Golden participants Lora Haimes and Tana Lawler and their teammates hope to elevate with a self-directed community project they’ve chosen as part of the program’s curriculum.

Together, with support from Foothills Animal Shelter Marketing and Community Engagement Manager Joan Thielen, the two animal lovers hope to raise awareness of the benefits of purchasing an annual license for your pet.

Sparked by the notion that each $20 pet license helps offset a portion of the $1.6 million annual budget FAS receives from the municipalities it serves, Lawler and Haimes had an idea—and a mission.

“It was a doable project, and we felt we could help increase exposure pretty effectively,” said Haimes. “I think it’s something people are willing to do, I think there’s a lack of awareness they’re supposed to do it.”

While only dogs are required to be licensed, cats and other animals are optional.

Licensing a pet not only saves an owner from potential fines if the pet gets out, it’s also the quickest way to be reconnected with a lost pet.

“A lot of people get their dogs chipped these days, but for lower-income people, a license will allow them to find their dog and is a lot less expensive than paying for a chip,” Haimes said.

Licenses are connected to an easy-to-use online database. If licensed, lost and found pets have a better chance of being returned to their owners.

Thielen said the process has become so much easier. Pet owners may license their pets online and may now pay fees by credit card.

Lawler said their project plans to incorporate social media and signs in local dog parks.

There’s even a plan for a vaccination clinic.

Thielen said projects like Haimes and Lawler’s are appreciated.

“They are super helpful in raising awareness,” she said. “Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to communicate with our community here and let them know that we are here as a resource whether that is pet licensing, or they need to surrender a pet or adopt a pet, or if they need access to affordable services. It just helps a lot to have the support of community members to stand behind us.”

For more information, visit www.foothillsanimalshelter.org.