Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Have A Feeling It Won't Be Too Long Before Pet Licenses Are Gone

TORONTO — A new report questions the value of Toronto’s money-making cat and dog and licensing program, suggesting it and other animal care services be scrapped or cut back in order to shave down the city’s the budget.

In addition to eliminating animal licensing, consultants from the KPMG firm say the city could outsource of animal care services, lengthen the amount of time it takes to respond to rescues or emergencies, and cease to pick up pets placed for adoption.

Toronto licenses a number of businesses, from bake shops to bowling alleys to building renovators, and consultants believe there are savings to be had by thinning out the list to only include those that are “serving a clear purpose.” It did not provide any suggestions.

This is the fourth installment in a series of reports reviewing everything the municipal government does in order to cut costs. The licensing and standards committee oversees programs that cost the city about $21-million a year, 100% of which are deemed as “traditional,” which means that they are not essential or mandatory programs.

Licensing and standards is one of those areas that makes the city money. Business licensing and enforcement, for example, nets nearly $6-million a year. Eliminating some categories would “reduce paper burden in the industry but may not produce a net saving for the city,” the report states. It also suggests scrapping the licensing of dog and cats, which brings in $660,000 a year, noting that other cities take different approaches to licensing pets. Philadelphia provides animal licensing and management services through its public health office, while Melbourne contracts out services to a non-profit animal shelter.

Councillor Cesar Palacio, chair of the licensing and standards committee, says the city’s pet licensing system has long been “an aggravation” for owners and that it still costs the city more in administration, than the permits bring in.

In Toronto, just 30% of owned dogs and 10% of cats are licensed, KPMG says, and, as a result, “the value of the program is not evident.” Read more at news.nationalpost.com.

**To find a Toronto dog walker, click here.