Whether you got a new animal companion for Christmas, or your favourite cat or dog is celebrating another year with you, it's time to get a new pet licence.
And while the town continues to offer annual licensing, lifetime licensing, which first was offered starting last year, is becoming a popular option, bylaw enforcement officer Patrick Briere told the Times on Monday.
In the past year, some 30 pet owners in town have gotten lifetime licensing. By comparison, 22 pet owners got annual licences last year.
“We gained a lot this past year from offering the lifetime licensing, which was huge,” Briere noted.
While there is an initial cost to getting your pet microchipped (about $50 at the Nor-West Animal Clinic here), it is cheaper—and less hassle—in the long run for the owner to get a lifetime licence.
Under the 2019 rates, the lifetime licence costs $20.50. By comparison, the annual licence fee is $25.35 if your pet is spayed or neutered.
If they're not, the annual tag costs $37.30.
Briere noted if your animal is impounded, it now will cost $82.10 to get it out. There's also “running at large” charges and other possible fees that could be added to the impound one.
“It's a lot cheaper to the spend the $37 or the $20 than the impound fee,” he stressed.
Service animals and police dogs get licensed for free.
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 “Fido" or "Garfield.”
Cat owners also are reminded that the pet licensing bylaw started including felines for the first time last year.
A quick look at the numbers shows that far more locally-owned pet cats and dogs are without licences than those with them.
Briere urged pet owners to license their animal companions this year—even if they haven't done so in the past.
“The bylaw does designate that you have to have to your pet tagged or licensed,” he noted.
"If you do get your licence, it gives you some freebies with us.
“If your animal runs way, we can track it through a chip or its tag and contact you right away,” Briere said.
“Normally, if we know the owner of the dog, we can get a hold of you and ask you to come get the dog,” he added.
"But once we get the animal and we can't make contact with the owner, that's when it ends up in our facility and impoundment fees and stuff kick in.
“If you want to save yourself some money, get an annual tag or a lifetime licence—it's lot cheaper.”
Animal licensing can be done at the Civic Centre, where front desk staff will help you out.