In light of current dog tag policies in Waterloo Region, there are still about 30,000 dogs in Kitchener alone, running around illegally.
But the Kitchener Waterloo Humane Society continues to increase their efforts in encouraging more people to license their dogs, with increased education and awareness campaigns as well as various incentives to get communities in the region on board.
“Dog tags as well as other forms of microchipping are the best ways of ensuring that your lost pet can be reunited with you. Pets that have proper identification are significantly more likely to be reunited with their owners,” says, Calla Spencer, senior manager of marketing and communications for the Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo & Stratford Perth.
“We manage the licensing program in Kitchener, where 8714 licenses have been purchased in 2019 year to date.”
Each township in Waterloo Region has their own dog tag policies and dog licensing is mandatory.
“As for how many dogs are in these municipalities, we do not have a way to know how many in total there are. The only way to track that would be through licensing. In areas where dog licenses are mandatory as per the by-law, all dogs should have a tag,” Spencer said.
There are many reasons why owners feel there is no need to license their dog. Some feel it might just be a cash grab, others feel it’s an invasion of privacy. And many simply forget to renew their expired license.
But for the Kitchener Waterloo Humane Society, it’s a matter of being able to identify lost pets so they can be safely returned to their owners.
It’s for piece of mind.
Dog licensing fees also help support the Humane Society and the costs incurred from animal control efforts.
Dog tag fees vary in the region and in the townships, but for those who don’t purchase a dog license, they can face a fine from $200 to $500.
All dog tag owners in Woolwich are required to buy dog tags for each of their dogs annually, or within 21 days of moving to the township. Tags must be purchased each year before March 1st and expire December 31st. The cost for a neutered/spayed dog is $26 before March and if non-neutered/spayed, the cost is $37.
Owners must make rabies shot information available to the township on request.
In North Dumfries, anyone who owns a dog must too, purchase a dog tag.
Tags are available at the township office and are valid for one year expiring April 1st of the following year and the cost is $22, and $11 for seniors if paid in person.
The Dog Control By-law in the Township of Wilmot requires every owner of a dog to purchase a tag before January 15th or within ten days of becoming the owner of a dog.
Tags are multi-year tags and the current tags are for 2017 through to 2021.
Dog owners must pay the annual dog fee of $20 (if paid before March 31) but will continue to use the same tag.
Tags can be paid in person at the township office, or online.
In Wellesley Township, owners must also purchase dog tags annually, or within 21 days of moving to the township.
As of April 1st, the cost is $45 for neutered/spayed dogs and $60 for non-neutered/spayed with reduced rates for seniors.
For the Humane Society, “a dog tag is your dog’s ticket home”.
Today, according to the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, 62 per cent of Canadian households include at least one companion animal, 36 per cent own at least one cat whereas 35.2 per cent own at least one dog.