WHAT IS PET LICENSING?
Many towns and cities across Ontario have begun implementing by-laws whereby pet owners are now required to obtain licenses for their pets. A pet license allows a pet owner to register their pet with the city or town. Obtaining a license for your pet can have many benefits including reducing the prevalence of rabies as owners must provide proof of rabies vaccines prior to obtaining their pet license, assistance in locating your pet if it goes missing, ensuring your lost pet will be kept at a shelter longer than an unlicensed pet, and finally local shelters are often supported by the fee’s collected through the licensing process.
When you license your pet, you will be provided with a tag that can be placed on your pet’s collar. This tag confirms that the animal has been registered and is up to date with all of their vaccines. This tag can also assist in returning your pet to you should they ever become lost. Different cities and towns all over Ontario have begun to implement their own processes for pet licensing in their jurisdictions.
According to City of Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 349, all dogs and cats owned in the City of Toronto must be licensed with the city. Pet owners may obtain a license for their dog or cat either by mail, over the phone or in person in Toronto. To obtain a pet license by mail, pet owners can download a PDF version of the Pet Licensing Application from the City of Toronto website and mail it to the City of Toronto Treasurer. To obtain a pet license over the phone, pet owners may call (416)-338-PETS Monday to Friday between 8:30am and 4:30pm. Finally, to obtain a pet license in person, a pet owner may attend either the West Animal Shelter, the North Animal Shelter or the East Animal Shelter and obtain their license the same day.
There are fees associated with obtaining a pet license in the City of Toronto may vary depending on the animal being registered. Licensing fees for dogs are as follows; $25.00 for a dog that is spayed or neutered and $60.00 for a dog that is not spayed or neutered. The licensing fees for cats are as follows: $15.00 for a cat that is spayed or neutered and $50.00 for a cat that is not spayed or neutered. Additionally, there is a $5.00 fee for a replacement tag. There is no fee to register a service animal. It should also be noted that pet owners who are over the age of 18 years old and make less than $50,000 annually may qualify for waived or subsidized fees.
It is important to note that 100% of the fees collected through the pet licensing process in the City of Toronto are donated to various animal shelters all over the city. The funds are used to care for over 6,000 dogs and cats annually and cover the costs of; food, emergency services, medical care, rescuing sick, injured, lost or distressed animals, adopting pets out to new families, investigating animal care issues and ensuring that Toronto neighborhoods are safe for both people and pets.
Despite these benefits pet owners in Toronto have been reluctant to obtain licenses for their pets. Current statistics reveal that only around 30% of Toronto pets have been licensed with the city. In an attempt to combat low registration numbers, the BluePaw Program has introduced a rewards program to entice pet owners to register their pets. Once registered for the program, pet owners can receive rewards and discounts at participating businesses. Current participating businesses include the Dog Hospital of Brampton, the Brampton Cat Hospital, the Wild Fish Aquarium, Bark Busters In-Home Dog Training and Dogtopia.
Like Toronto, the City of Brampton also requires resident pet owners to license their dogs and cats. According to Brampton’s Animal Control By-Laws, all dogs and cats residing in city limits must be licensed with the city. Fees for obtaining a pet license in Brampton are the same as those in Toronto (fees listed in previous section). Additionally, the process to obtain a license in Brampton is identical to that of Toronto. Further, the BluePaw Program recently partnered with the City of Brampton, meaning pet owners with pet licenses in Brampton will now be able to enjoy the benefits and discounts associated with the Program.