The District of Mission has decided to join the FVRD's animal control program.

Mission to change animal control services

With its current animal control contract up in 2016, the district decided to implement the FVRD’s program.

Mission will be closing its animal control centre at the end of the year in favour of joining the Fraser Valley Regional District’s service.

The decision was made by council during Tuesday night’s meeting.

With its current animal control contract up in 2016, the district decided to implement the FVRD’s program, which in addition to pound services, includes licensing and bylaw enforcement, such as barking complaints, off-leash infractions and aggressive dog investigations.

When the district first examined the move, several members of the public voiced opposition, wanting to keep animal control services local. A 500-signature petition against the change was  presented to council in July.

“After all of the questions were answered after all of the looks we took at the whole system, we believe that this is in the best interest of taxpayers,” said Mission Mayor Randy Hawes.

Abbotsford made the same decision earlier this year. While Abbotsford had previously used the pound in Chilliwack, as of January 1, the city’s animal control program is fully managed by the FVRD.

Though the pound would be in Chilliwack instead of Mission, FVRD representatives said they offer a free-ride-home program, and when they find licensed dogs they are usually returned within a couple of hours.

While council approved the move, it did request that the animal control officer for Mission would be a “Missionite familiar with animal control.”

Council will meet with FVRD representatives to discuss the hiring process.

Coun. Rhett Nicholson was the only representative at the meeting – Coun. Jenny Stevens was not in attendance – to vote against the move. He said there is little difference between the current service in Mission and that offered by the FVRD.

“I think that they are pretty equal. I think the cost for the regional district is going to be a little less.”

He expressed concern that five jobs in Mission will be lost and the service will no longer be run locally.

“Regional services are good and bad. This one I didn’t feel was really needed.”