Dog licence fees will increase in Ladysmith

Dog owners who have their pets spayed or neutered will see less of an increase than those who do not.

Ladysmith council has decided to impose an increase on licence fees for dogs in the town.

Last Monday during a regular meeting at city hall, council discussed the upcoming increases for dog owners who pay both before or on, and after, Jan. 31 next year.

But Coun. Gord Horth instigated a change to the current bylaw that will now see less of an increase to dog owners who have had their pets spayed or neutered, and a greater increase to those owners who haven’t had that done.

“I’m not opposed to increases, but I don’t think we’re sending the right message,” said Horth at the meeting. “Responsible pet owners should be rewarded for good behaviour.”

Under council’s Dog Licencing Control Bylaw No. 1841, initially, spayed or neutered dogs would’ve had a fee of $20 prior to or on Jan. 31, and the proposed increase was to $25.

Horth made a motion to change that to only $22, but he wants a greater increase to the fee for those who haven’t had their dog spayed or neutered.

Dogs without that procedure would’ve had a fee of $35 on or before Jan. 31, up $5 from $30, but Horth had that changed to $40.

After Jan. 31, initially, spayed or neutered dogs had a fee of $30 and the proposed change was to $35. Horth’s motion saw that remain at $30.

Also after Jan. 31, those dogs not spayed or neutered would’ve saw a fee of $40 increase to $45, but Horth had that increased further to $50.

“There’s an incentive there to be a responsible dog owner. This proposal would give us more revenue,” he said.

Mayor Rob Hutchins estimated a total of 1,000 dog licences for the town and said “hopefully there’s far more spayed or neutered.”

Horth’s motion was seconded by Coun. Jillian Dashwood, and all components of it passed unanimously with minimal discussion.

A segment of the town’s official bylaw reads, “with an increase in the Animal Control Services fees that the town will be paying for this service, staff are recommending that the dog licence fee should be increased to offset any further subsidy from taxation.”

Council will add the finishing touches to the changes in further meetings later in the month.