More than 1,700 dog owners in Mission are facing $200 tickets after failing to renew their dog licences for 2016.
Across the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD), no licences were purchased for nearly 3,000 previously accounted-for pooches, leaving the FVRD’s animal control program short $114,000 in revenue.
In Mission, which moved dog services to the FVRD in 2016, 1,703 “active dogs” are currently unlicensed. That is more than double the number of unlicensed dogs in Abbotsford, where there are 655 such pooches, as of Oct. 3. Chilliwack has 535 unlicensed active dogs.
Licences cost $28 for a spayed or neutered dog in Abbotsford and Mission, or $56 for a dog that is not spayed or neutered dog. Just over one-quarter of dogs in Mission are not spayed or neutered.
The licences fund the FVRD’s dog program, and tags allow lost dogs to be matched to owners.
Invoices were sent to owners at the end of 2015, with a reminder letter 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 unlicensed, the district is moving to issue fines of $200. Fines that go unpaid will be moved 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 can now be bought at the municipal hall, at Mr. Pet’s or online.