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Big fines could soon be pet peeve for owners of unlicensed animals.

April 30th, 2003, 06:33 PM
Big fines could soon be pet peeve for owners of unlicensed animals.

SASKATOON - Saskatoon pet owners who don't license their animals could soon see their penalties increase from $30 to $250.

An advisory committee wants city council to change its bylaws which would see fines jump by more than eight times.

Currently, only about six to seven per cent of Saskatoon pets are licensed.

It costs thirty dollars a year to license a cat or dog, and half that if the pet's been fixed. The current fine for not licensing is also thirty dollars.

Bruce Richards, Saskatoon's finance manager, says the extra cash would be welcomed, as it would improve the city's animal control program.

"There are times of the year when we wish we had more animal control officers," says Richards. "There aren't enough funds in order to have a sufficient number of people on the street."

Richards says the program could also use more park controls, a spay/neuter program, and more dog runs. That money could be available if more owners licensed their pets. But boosting revenue isn't the only reason to increase the fines, says the head of the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. [SPCA] Boyd Clark says encouraging pet owners to license would curb unnecessary deaths.

"In Saskatoon, there are approximately 2500 animals that are euthanized annually," says Clark, "because there are no owners that can be found for those animals."

Richards says the recommendation is in line with other cities, such as Calgary and Edmonton.

City council is expected to hear the recommendations at its next monthly meeting.