Animal control in Mission, by the numbers

March 1 report to council shows steady decrease in dog licencing over the last 5 years

Ever wonder how many aggressive dogs are in Mission, or how many calls are made to animal control each year?

These are just some of the statistics mentioned in the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) Animal Control Program’s report to council on March 1.

“There’s many reasons why someone might call the animal control centre,” said. Stacey Barker, director of regional services for Fraser Valley Regional District. “Maybe they’re complaining about a barking dog, or they’ve lost their dog, or they saw a big snake in the park, or their pig is in their neighbor’s yard, or whatever the reasons are, it’s always interesting. It certainly never stops.”

Mission’s Community Animal Response and Education (CARE) is run at the regional level, along with Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Kent and Harrison Hot Springs.

READ: Mission to change animal control service

The community had approximately 650 calls this year out of the 3,660 received by the FVRD. Abbotsford and Chilliwack both made nearly 1,500 calls to animal control in comparison.

Over the last five years, an average of 97 dogs per year have been impounded out of Mission, compared to 250 each from Abbotsford and Chilliwack.

The CARE centre has successfully placed 410 dogs in new homes over the last four years – 44 of which have been unclaimed dogs found in Mission (around 10 per cent).

Over the past five years, Mission has had 35 nuisance dogs, which are defined as “notorious” for their ability to escape, and have been impounded three times over a 24 month period.

There have been 32 dogs in Mission designated as aggressive since 2016, and had containment or muzzling restrictions put on them. Abbotsford and Chilliwack had 75 and 95, respectively.

These designations are placed after a lengthy investigation, typically following an incident where a person had been bitten or another dog had been severely injured.

The number of both nuisance and aggressive dog designations have fallen sharply this year. Barker said this is likely because COVID-19 has been keeping people home.

FVRD animal control has given rides home to 2,332 dogs since 2016. The unlicensed dog owners had to pay for the service by either purchasing a license or paying for impound fees on drop off.

An area of concern for FVRD is a steady decrease in the number of dog owners who have been licensing their pets over the past five years. In 2016, Mission had more than 7,000 licensed dogs. In 2020 that number had dropped to below 6,000.

Mission’s previous animal control contractor went door-to-door to get residents to renew licenses, Barker said. Five years ago, Mission had more licenced dogs than Abbotsford and Chilliwack, but has fallen behind both since coming under the FVRD’s umbrella.

She suggested either employing a canvasser to encourage residents to license their dogs, a program that offers rewards to dog license owners with participating businesses, or offering an amnesty period alongside a large campaign push to get owners to sign up without being hit with fees.