Pet owners who haven’t fixed their cat or dog may soon have to pay more
Proposed changes at Winnipeg City Hall may soon require pet owners who don’t have their cats and dogs spayed or neutered to pay more.
It’s been just a few months since Braiden Bousquet adopted his seven-month-old rescue dog Lincoln.
“We went there to browse, look at dogs and have a good day, and ended up leaving with her because she was so cute,” he said.
When Lincoln joined his family, she had already been spayed.
It’s something the city is trying to encourage more pet owners to do, and may soon be charging them more if they don’t.
The city’s responsible pet ownership bylaw does require cats and dogs over six months old to be sterilized unless a valid licence for an unsterilized pet has been issued.
As a part of its preliminary 2023 budget, the city is proposing increasing the annual licence fees for cats and dogs that have not been spayed or neutered.
For cats, the annual fee would jump to $61, an increase of $9 compared to the current rate. For dogs, the fee would increase to $123, a jump of $43.
“The increase in fees are specifically for intact animals, so this was to further encourage the citizens of Winnipeg to spay and neuter their pets,” Coun. Jeff Browaty, the city’s finance chair, said on Wednesday.
He said as the pandemic has been winding down, the city has seen an increased number of animals left at its animal services facilities.
In a statement to CTV News, the city said almost every dog and cat impounded at animal services and the Winnipeg Humane Society has not been spayed or neutered.
Greg Carlson, who was at the park with his daughter’s dog Thursday, believes the proposed changes may help.
“I think it’s going to have positive effects on maybe those folks that are maybe sitting on the fence in terms of spaying or neutering their animals,” he said. “I think it is an incentive for them to get out there and look after their pets.”
While he appreciates the city’s effort to promote spaying and neutering, Bousquet doesn’t think it will make much of a difference.
“If somebody feels that heartfelt about not spaying or neutering their animals, an extra $40 or whatever it is, is not going to motivate them to do it.”
Pet owners looking to spay or neuter their animals should contact their veterinarian. The city said several low-income spay and neuter programs are also offered through the Winnipeg Humane Society and are partially funded by the city.
More information about the programs can be found online.
The proposed changes along with the rest of the 2023 preliminary budget are set to be debated at council in March.
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