Dog tag fees to rise in Guelph-Eramosa

BRUCEDALE – The cost of dog tags will go up by $5 in Guelph-Eramosa in 2020, but revenue will still fall short of the cost of providing animal control services.

In May the township entered a three-year contract with the firm DocuPet to provide online processing of dog tags, with a plan to review the fees for dog owners.

On Aug. 12, council approved a new fee of $30 for spayed/neutered dogs and $35 for intact dogs.

That is $5 less than the average in surrounding municipalities, said clerk Amanda Knight.

Fees have not gone up since 2017. They can be paid at any time and are good for one year, instead of being based on a fixed deadline.

Councillors acknowledged there are many unlicensed dogs in the township, and they wanted to keep the price increase moderate to avoid discouraging owners from participating.

“I don’t think we have a quarter of the dogs (tagged),” said councillor Bruce Dickieson.

Mayor Chris White said the township is “moving in the right direction” and suggested a review after one year.

Knight said the overall cost for township animal control services, provided by the Guelph Humane Society, will be $64,165 in 2019 and $75,865 in 2020.

The current revenue from dog tags is currently estimated at $20,240 per year.

With a community awareness program, DocuPet projects the township will see at least a 50 per cent increase in sales. The company will receive a performance fee of 50% of new revenue generated over an established threshold.

The multi-year tags are linked to online pet profiles, frequently leading to a prompt return of lost dogs.

In addition to online sales there will be real-time reporting of lost and found animals, automatic renewals, a 24/7 hotline, pet ownership advice and various reward discounts.