July 24, 2006

Toronto sticks it to responsible dog owners

When proposing the latest amendments to Toronto's dog licence fees, the authors of the proposal state that "The proposed revisions to the fee structure will continue to positively reward responsible pet owners that sterilize their animals." However, upon closer examination of this proposal, it appears that their decision to remove the incentive to microchip actually penalizes the most responsible dog owners in the city.

Here is Toronto's licence fee structure from two years ago:

Unaltered and unmicrochipped $50
Microchipped $25
Microchipped (senior citizen) $15
Altered $15
Altered (senior citizen) $10
Altered and microchipped (including senior citizens) $10

Here is their current fee structure, implemented mid-year 2005, that increased most fees by $10:

Unaltered and unmicrochipped $60 (+20%)
Microchipped $30 (+20%)
Microchipped (senior citizen) $25 (+67%)
Altered $25 (+67%)
Altered (senior citizen) $20 (+100%)
Altered and microchipped (including senior citizens) $20 (+100%)

Here is the proposed fee structure:

Unaltered $60
Unaltered (senior citizen) $30
Altered $25
Altered (senior citizen) $12.50

This includes a deliberate removal of any mention of microchipping. The authors state that "special categories for microchipping will be eliminated, however, Toronto Animal Services will continue to promote microchipping through its education programs".

So, the most irresponsible dog owner (unaltered and unmicrochipped) saw a 20% increase during the 2005 changes (from $50 to $60) and sees no increase in these proposed amendments, for a total increase over two years of 20%.

I, on the other hand, the most responsible dog owner (altered and microchipped), saw a 100% increase during the 2005 changes (from $10 to $20) and see an additional 25% increase this year (from $20 to $25). The total increase for me from two years ago is 150% (from $10 to $25).

And this is supposed to encourage responsible dog ownership?

It seems to me that the only real incentive here is to grow older so that you can get the senior citizen discount.

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