Bylaw officers in Kitchener are reminding dog owners they must have a dog licence. The city has been doing this for the past four seasons. The director of bylaw for the city said the permit is the most visible piece of information people will see if a dog is missing or in need of medical attention.
"By getting an annual licence it allows people to keep their information updated. For example, suppose your dog should get out or is included in any kind of emergency. In that case, we have a quick way to locate the owner of the dog." said Gloria MacNeil.
MacNeil adds that they do come across people who genuinely didn't know they needed a dog license. They have published a pamphlet with the Humane Society that explains pet ownership and licensing.
"Staff are going door-to-door having conversations with owners. Staff will share that information with them. We are encouraging people to go online and purchase a dog licence."
MacNeil said she had heard concerns around allowing pets to be microchipped versus licences. The challenge she heard from the Humane Society is that once an animal is microchipped, owners sometimes don't keep up with updated information. As a result, when the animal goes missing, the information on the microchip can be outdated, which is no longer relevant.
Another concern she has heard is regarding cats being licensed as well. MacNeil said this is not something they are looking at right now.
"Cats are supposed to remain indoors at all times, and generally, they aren't supposed to be outside. When your doorbell rings, dogs usually bark. Cats don't usually run to the door. So the enforcement piece of that would be challenging. In addition, we would get complaints about wild cats that no one owns, so licensing would be ineffective.
For more information on how to get your dog licensed, click here.