Officers going door-to-door searching for unlicensed dogs

This boxer named Pork Chops is one of the 3,800 licensed dogs in Sarnia this year. Glenn Ogilvie

Troy Shantz

Sarnia bylaw enforcement officers are going door-to-door this summer to see which pet owners haven’t obtained a licence for their dog.

“It’s not going to be every door in the city,” said bylaw enforcement supervisor Adam MacDonald, “just the random areas that are targeted for that day.”

Two officers launched the dog census in July and will continue the sweep until Labour Day, skipping addresses that already have a registered pooch.

“It may be a subdivision one day, it may be an apartment building the next day,” MacDonald said.

A fine of $150 can be issued on the spot when an owner who opted to keep Fido off the books is found, MacDonald said.

Sarnia residents have bought 3,800 dog licenses so far this year. Purchased before March 31, a spayed or neutered animal costs $36, but the fee jumps to $62 after that date.

An unaltered dog, including late fee, is $110.

The money pays for the city’s contracts with the Sarnia & District Humane Society, including animal control, adoption programs, and veterinary care for homeless pets.

“We rely heavily on people coming in and purchasing their tags on a yearly basis,” MacDonald said.

“It helps that the tax is levied on dog owners… it kind of takes that burden off of other taxpayers that don’t have pets.”

Having a dog tag also “drastically increases” the odds of a lost pet being found and returned to its rightful owner, MacDonald added.

And because proof of a rabies shot is required, a dog tag reduces confusion and fear when a dog bites a person or another animal.

“You’re always going to have people that aren’t going to license their dogs,” MacDonald said. “We just do our best to try and get the word out there.”

Dog tags can be obtained at City Hall and the Humane Society.