The City of Hamilton’s Animal Services has recruited two summer students to conduct a proactive, door-to-door dog licensing education campaign and to help pet owners conveniently purchase a license.

After five weeks into the summer 2015 campaign, the student officers, who are in uniform and carrying photo identification, have sold over 350 dog licenses to pet owners in neighbourhoods throughout the city.

“We currently estimate that there are upwards of 90,000 dogs in the community; however, of that number only 34,000 are licensed,” says Ken Leendertse, Director of Licensing, City of Hamilton. “In addition to selling licenses, the students will also be identifying owners who do not have dogs licensed and issuing compliance orders if necessary.”

“The ultimate goal with this thorough surveying and education campaign is to close the gap on the number of unlicensed dogs and to give the City of Hamilton a better understanding of our city’s compliance rate.”

All City of Hamilton residents must obtain a dog license before the dog is three months old and it must be attached to the dog’s collar. The pet’s license must be renewed annually.

Licensing fees start at $31 annually for puppies and any dogs that have been spayed or neutered. Reduced rates are available for dog owners who are 65+ years of age or who receive a government disability pension.

Benefits of dog licensing:

  • It is easier to find a lost dog if it is licensed – staff can quickly contact the owner in an emergency.
  • If a dog gets lost and is picked up by Animal Services, the pet gets one free ride home every 365 days.
  • The dog will come home if lost without going to an animal shelter first.
  • License fees are used to care for and feed lost or stray pets, and find a home for them.
  • $1 of each license goes towards helping fund Hamilton’s leash free parks.

A pet owner who has custody of, or otherwise keeps a dog without a license, may be subject to a fine of no less than $180 and up to $10,000.

In addition to obtaining a license at the door if visited by an officer, licenses are also available:

  • in person at Hamilton Animal Services, 247 Dartnall Road or a municipal service centre
  • by phone:
    905-574-3433 ext. 4
  • by mail:
    City of Hamilton Animal Licensing
    247 Dartnall Road
    Hamilton, Ontario L8W 3V9
  • by fax:
    905-546-4044

Online licensing is in development and will be offered as an option for residents later in 2015.

Additional tips for pet owners from Hamilton Animal Services to prevent a lost pet:

  • Have identification on your animal at all times. It may be a microchip, a tag in addition to a municipal license. Keep your contact information updated – this information is taken upon licensing, but it is your responsibility to notify Animal Services of any changes
  • Keep your pet on your property. All pets in Hamilton are not permitted to roam at large
  • As soon as you realize your pet is missing, start looking, visit the shelter, and post a Lost Report by visiting the City’s website at www.hamilton.ca/animalservices
  • Put the word out that your pet is missing, speak to neighbours and put up posters

For more information on animal licensing, visit animal services.

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