ROYAL OAK (CBS Detroit) Is Fido in compliance? In Royal Oak that means he or she has to be licensed and have proof of rabies vaccine — and owners have to be able to produce both as officers go door-to-door starting today checking for offenders.

The city is conducting what it calls a “city wide dog census.”

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Unlicensed dogs are involved in half of all dog bite incidents in Royal Oak, city officials said — and the city is also losing money, with thousands of homes suspected of not buying the annual licenses. A three-year license is $20.

“When we come across an unlicensed dog running loose, finding the dog’s owner is difficult,” said Gail Briggs, animal control officer for the cities of Royal Oak and Berkley.  “With licensed animals, we are able to reunite the dog and the owner immediately at any time, day or night, without having to put the dog in the shelter.  The important part of licensing, however, is ensuring Royal Oak animals are properly vaccinated.  In a dog bite investigation, this will save the victim a series of painful rabies shots and keep the shelter from having to quarantine the animal for 10 days.”

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City Manager Don Johnson said getting your dog licensed helps protect the health and welfare of the community by ensuring all dogs have the proper vaccinations.  “Licensing your dog also provides a great benefit to owners because we can help lost dogs find their way home,” he added.

Owners with dogs found to be unlicensed will be given 14 days to purchase a license, with a $20 penalty assigned. Owners who don’t get a license face a $500 fine.

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Get a dog license application HERE.