FVRD aims to boost dog licence awareness in Chilliwack

BC Commissionaires to go door to door to improve education and awareness around animal control programs

A new door-to-door campaign is hoped to boost the number of dogs being licensed in Chilliwack.

A new door-to-door campaign is hoped to boost the number of dogs being licensed in Chilliwack.

A new door-to-door campaign is hoped to boost the number of dogs being licensed in Chilliwack.

The Fraser Valley Regional District is launching a pilot program that will see B.C. Commissionaires knocking on doors, informing people about dog licensing rules and costs. FVRD staff are hoping the personal contact will increase the number of people complying with the bylaw. Currently, compliance is estimated at about 34 per cent.

Stacey Barker, manager of environmental services for the FVRD, said the program will take place this spring and summer. They are planning to learn from mistakes of similar programs to help ensure success here, she said. That means there are a few things they won’t be doing.

For example, they will not be paying a commission to the workers going door to door. This should keep the program from becoming too aggressive, Barker said in a report to the FVRD board. The commissionaires will have the ability to sell licences at the door. However, they will not be handing out fines to those who don’t comply.

They also won’t be going into homes or peering into backyards, Barker assured, and they’ll be easy to spot.

“The canvassers would be easily recognizable by badges and uniforms and would be trained to follow strict guidelines regarding professional conduct and appropriate behavior,” she said. “For example, canvassers would not peer in windows or over fences looking for dogs and they certainly would not enter homes. They would be there to provide information on the FVRD program and responsible dog ownership. They would have the ability to sell dog licences at the resident’s door step, but would not be issuing tickets for non-compliance.”

Once a dog is licensed, the owners are more likely to continue purchasing a licence for their pet. A licence is required for each dog in the household, with varying rates depending on the dog’s history.

Licences for spayed or neutered dogs are $15 a year, while licences for dogs that aren’t are $70 each.

A licence for a nuisance dog is $100, and a licence for a dangerous dog is $200.

A licence transfer fee is $5 and a replacement tag fee is $5.

The door-to-door campaign will run in spring and summer only, to avoid asking people for fees in the last half of the licensing year.

Another change to licensing will be an online payment option in 2016. Barker is looking to cities with high rates of compliance, such as Calgary where the compliance rate is estimated at more than 90 per cent.

“The  culture of pet ownership has evolved greatly over the past few decades and with this change comes greater public expectation regarding the behavior and interactions with dogs in the community,” Barker’s report stated. “In response, Animal Control programs across North America are finding success by shifting from an enforcement-based model to one focused on education and awareness.”

For more information about the FVRD’s animal control policies, and to view information about animal adoption, visit www.fvrd.bc.ca.