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Statute: O.R.C Section 955.21:

No owner, keeper, or harborer of a dog more than three months of age, nor owner of a dog kennel, shall fail to file the application for registration required by section 955.01 of the Revised Code, nor shall he fail to pay the legal fee therefor.


  • First Offense: Fine no less than $25.00 and no more than $75.00
  • Second Offense: Fine no less than $75.00 and no more than $250.00

Any dog three months of age or older in Holmes County must be registered. There are no excuses for failing to register your dog. Common excuses we receive at the Dog Warden’s Department are listed below.

My dog is a house dog and never wanders off so I don’t need a license. The law does not differentiate between house dog, farm dog, outside dog, etc. Every dog, regardless of where the dog is being kept or how well the dog behaves, is required by law to have a license. All it takes for your dog to disappear is wandering off one time without a license.

I am from out of the county and was unaware that my dog needed a license. Licensing of dogs is a State Law, thus every county in the state requires individuals to license their dogs. The county in which you came from also enforced this law. Every year the Holmes County Dog Warden’s Department puts signs out, puts articles in all local papers and advertises through our local radio station, and sends our reminders through the mail.

My dog is going to die soon so I did not want to waste my money. This is never a valid excuse. If your dog is alive you are required by law to purchase a license for it. In our experience, 95% of the owners who use this excuse still have the dog after June of that year, which is half of the license season. You do not know how long your dog will live, so purchase a license.

I did not get my reminder in the mail. If you typically receive a reminder in the mail from the Auditor’s Office and fail to receive it, we apologize for the inconvenience. However, license sales always occur at the same time every year and individuals are not required to receive reminders. Make a note on your calendar or have a family member remind you.

My dog is a service dog and is therefore exempt. There are special restrictions regarding service animals. If your dog is not described in section 955.011 of the O.R.C than your dog does not qualify as a service dog. For additional information please call our office. If you claim your dog is service dog, you will be required to provide proof of the dog’s certification as a service dog.

I took possession of the dog halfway through the year and was waiting until licenses went on sale again in December. Regardless of when you took possession of the dog, you need to purchase a license immediately. After receiving the dog, you have a grace period of 30 days, or until the dog turns three months of age to purchase a license.

I do have a license! I used the license for my old dog on my new dog. This is not acceptable. Each individual dog is required to be registered and have a separate license. If you do not follow this, you may also be issued a citation for wearing a false license in addition to a citation for failure to register.

My dog is microchipped, I have no need for a license and my dog would lose it anyway. We encourage microchipping dogs, but it does not take the place of a license. Ohio Law does not require a microchip, but does require you to purchase a license. Regardless of your dog ability to keep the tag on its collar, you are obligated by law to purchase a license.

The following dogs are exempt from any license fees:

  • Law Enforcement Canine
  • Certified Assistant Dog (must provide proof to Holmes County Auditors)
  • An Animal Shelter that keeps and harbors dogs over the age of three months and is a nonprofit exempt from Federal Income taxation.