Franklin County dog-tag system in line for online upgrade

Marc Kovac
mkovac@dispatch.com
Rosie, a Jack Russell terrier/border collie mix, plays with her owner, Bill Sikora, earlier this summer at Walnut Woods Metro Park in Groveport. The Franklin County Auditor's Office is working on an upgrade to the county's dog-licensing system to make it easier to use.

Franklin County Auditor Michael Stinziano compares his office's online dog-licensing system to a mid-1980s Chevy Impala he had back in the day.

Sure, it ran, and it got him where he was going, "but there were clearly features and functions on it ... that were woefully behind," he said.

Even though the dog-tag system is only a few years old, it is well past its prime, he said.

"Across the board, I think dog owners and residents of Franklin County will appreciate a much better, one-stop shop," Stinziano said.

The Franklin County Auditor's Office is moving forward with an upgrade that is planned to be fully functional by December, when 2021 dog tags go on sale for area pet owners.

County commissioners have approved a $300,000-plus contract with New York-based Hoover Blanket Inc., doing business as Main Street Computing, which submitted the best of eight bids for the project.

The licensing system in place since 2017 needed about $200,000 in upgrades, according to the auditor's office.

The new system will provide a more user-friendly experience, allowing residents to check their license status, inform the auditor's office when pets die and complete other tasks online that currently require phone calls or emails to staff members.

Absent a better system, residents whose pets die sometimes receive license-renewal reminders.

"It's one of the unintended consequences of the auditor's office that I didn't think about until I was there," said Stinziano, who owns two rescue pugs. "We recognize it's frustrating. We know we can do better in that regard."

The ultimate goal, Stinziano said, is to increase compliance with required tags for dogs.

Though the auditor expects upward of 86,000 licenses to be issued this year, that's only about one-third of the total estimated pet dogs in the county.

mkovac@dispatch.com

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