Source: CBC (Extract)
Posted: February 4, 2021

The city says many residents prefer new tracking technologies, making the program irrelevant.

Beginning next year, dog owners in Woodstock, Ont., will no longer have to purchase a tag for their four-legged pet from the city.

The City of Woodstock is getting rid of its local dog licensing program after city staff heard from numerous pet owners who said the service was no longer relevant.  

“We think there are still other viable options for identifying a lost pet that are more convenient and more cost effective for pet owners,” said Amy Humphries, the city clerk for the City of Woodstock.

Since the program was implemented in 1976, a number of options to track pets have emerged, including personalized tags and microchips, which can be purchased at local pet store, veterinarian offices or online.

“It’s also more cost effective for responsible pet owners because those types of identification will be good for a number of years, whereas we were requiring licensing to be renewed every year, so we didn’t think the city’s dog licensing program continued to provide a needed service in our community,” Humphries added. 

Low compliance 

In order to purchase a licence through the city, dog owners have to pay an annual fee ranging from $8 to $30 and up to $210 if their dog has a muzzle order in place. 

“The dog tag fee is quite an unpopular fee for pet owners when they get it, because a number of them were actually doubling up — so their dog was also microchipped,” Humphries said.

Additionally, the city was only seeing about a 30 per cent compliance rate with its program, which prompted city council to take a closer look at the effectiveness of the program, Humphries added. 

This city will lose about $20,000 in revenue but Humphries said the program was due for some upgrades to its technology, which would’ve resulted in the city spending more money on a service that was less valuable to the community.

Humphries said that while purchasing a tag from the city will no longer be required next year, pet owners must still find alternate ways to identify their pet, whether that’s through mircrochipping or personalized tags.

Nearby East Zorra-Tavistock discontinued its local tag program in 2014.

Meanwhile, the City of London still requires all dog owners to purchase and renew their pet’s yearly licence. Fees in London range from $26 to $56. 

“I think eliminating the program depends on what the compliance rates are. Again, our compliance rates were already quite low … so I think cities will have to look at it individually,” Humphries said. 

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