Municipalities missing the boat on potential dog licensing revenue

Unlicenced dogs in region could help out financially challenged jurisdictions

At a time when dogs seem, at times, to outnumber children, it’s mind-boggling that cash-strapped municipalities are foregoing a fortune in dog licensing revenue.

Capital Regional District Animal Bylaw and Animal Care Services estimates there are about 60,000 dogs in the various CRD and non-CRD license municipalities. That number excludes dogs in Metchosin, Highlands and the three electoral districts of the CRD.

CRD estimates more than 60 per cent of those dog owners, or 35,000, did not buy a license for their pet. While fees vary from municipality to municipality, hundreds of thousands of dollars annually is foregone. For taxpayers, during an age of austerity, it’s revenue that could offset costs for off-leash areas, dog poo stations, animal control and so on.

Among the worst offenders is the City of Victoria, where 65 per cent of dogs aren’t licensed – 11,000 dogs requiring a $30 fee computes to more than $300,000 annually in lost revenue. In Esquimalt, a staggering 78 per cent of dogs aren’t licensed.

Perhaps the number of license vendors should be increased or, better still, double the number of animal control officers. Increase the cost of non-compliance. Or maybe additional incentives could be introduced that would encourage more dog owners to meet their responsibilities.

In short, Victoria regional municipalities should be better at enforcing dog licensing bylaws, considering that 60 per cent of the dog-owner population ignores them.

Stan Bartlett