Nearly 500 Agassiz and Harrison Host Springs dog owners are facing $200 tickets after failing to renew their dog licences for 2016.
Across the Fraser Valley Regional District, no licences were purchased for nearly 3,000 previously accounted-for pooches, leaving the FVRD’s animal control program short of $114,000 in revenue.
In Mission, which moved dog services to the FVRD in 2016, 1,703 “active dogs” are currently unlicenced. That is more than double the number of unlicenced dogs in Abbotsford, where there are 655 such pooches, as of Oct. 3. Chilliwack has 535 unlicenced active dogs, while Mission, . Harrison Hot Springs and Kent have a combined 488 unlicenced dogs.
Licences cost $28 for a spayed or neutered dog in Abbotsford and Mission, or 56 for an unspayed/neutered dog. Just over one-quarter of dogs in Abbotsford are not spayed or neutered. In Chilliwack, the cost is $15 for a spayed/neutered dog and $70 for an un-fixed dog. In Kent and Harrison Hot Springs, the cost is $20 and $50, respectively.
The licences fund the FVRD’s dog program, and tags allow lost dogs to be matched to owners.
Invoices were sent out to owners at the end of 2015, with a reminder letter to owners following on March 30, 2016. With numbers still lagging, the FVRD sent out a final letter to dog owners, warning fines would be issued to those who hadn’t purchased a new licence by Sept. 19, 2016, or notified the district that their dog had died or been moved.
The final warning resulted in the sale of more than 1,500 new licences, but with many dogs still unlicenced, the district is moving to issue fines of $200. Fines that go unpaid will be moved on to collections.
The district noted that there may be many reasons owners didn’t renew licences. In Mission, spokesperson Jennifer Kinneman noted that licences had previously been sold door-to-door. That ended this year, and licences could be bought at the municipal hall, at Mr. Pet’s or online.