For the first time ever, dog and cat owners in Fort Frances can get a lifetime licence for their pets and not have to worry about getting new tags year after year.
As of Jan. 1, pet owners now have two options: pay the annual fee and get a tag like in the past, or just pay a one-time lifetime licence fee.
“It's a reduced rate compared to what our annuals are,” town bylaw enforcement officer Patrick Briere told the Times, referring to the $20 lifetime licence.
"As long you're a responsible pet owner, and you have your shots and your pet is either tattooed or microchipped, we can offer you the lifetime licence.
“We just need a copy of what the tattoo number is or what the I.D. and who the vet is you take them to so we can follow-up and make sure everything is legit,” he noted.
While there is an initial cost to getting your pet microchipped ($61 at the Nor-West Animal Clinic), it is cheaper—and less hassle—in the long run for the pet owner to get a lifetime licence for their pet.
As noted, the lifetime licence costs $20. By comparison, the 2018 annual licence fee is $24.70 if your pet is spayed or neutered.
If they're not, the annual tag costs $36.35.
Service animals and police dogs get licensed for free. A replacement tag costs $10.
A microchip also acts just like a tag in helping bylaw enforcement officers track down the owners of stray pets.
They have a chip reader so when they find missing animals, they can check them for chips.
If they're chipped, all of their info comes up and they'll get you back in touch with Rover or Felix.
In related news, the new pet licensing bylaw has included cats for the first time.
“Cats were added to the bylaw as we have been receiving a higher-than-normal number of complaints in regards to cats being at large and causing issues around town,” Briere explained.
In related news, the Fort Frances Animal Shelter was the beneficiary of generous residents this past holiday season.
An article in the Dec. 13 issue of the Fort Frances Times generated an outpouring of donations of blankets, food, cash, and more by the public, reported Briere and fellow bylaw officer Arlene “Plum” Byrnes.
“It was a tremendous,” said Byrnes.
“There was a great turnout," echoed Briere. "Lots of people donated to the shelter.”
“We are still getting stuff in," noted Byrnes. "We could always use it.”
Briere noted the shelter, which is located on Fifth Street West just east of the Public Works building, houses both dogs and cats.
As such, donations can be anything from food, treats, and toys to blankets, leashes, and collars which are suited for either species.
“Anything really to help us ensure the safety and welfare of the animals is key,” he stressed.
Briere said those who want to donate can call the bylaw department at 274-5323 ext. 1218.
“We are well-stocked right now so just contact us,” he advised.
“We can let people know where we're at.”