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Pet Ownership Awareness Month

June is Pet Ownership Awareness Month for New Westminster! This month, take some time to review your responsibilities as a cat or dog owner under the Animal Care and Control Bylaw No. 7586.

You'll also have a chance to win a $100 gift card to Bosley's! Scroll down to the bottom of the page for details.

Dog Owner Responsibilities

waste removal

You are required to carry with you the suitable means to remove your dog's waste when you are not on your own property. Dog waste must be disposed of in a trash bin – not left on the sidewalk, not tossed in the bushes, not hidden in long grass. And no, it does not wash away with rain or melting snow. 

LICENSING

All dogs in New Westminster are required by law to wear a valid dog licence. There is no minimum age, so be sure to get your new puppy's licence right away. There is a limit of three dogs on any parcel of land or real property. Annual licence fees, forms, and general information can be found on the dog licensing page.

Municipal dog licences are a valuable form of identification for your dog, and serve as proof of ownership. Dog licensing statistics provide important data for the City when it comes to planning and developing dog-related services, such as off-leash areas. Also, the revenue from dog licensing fees helps fund the operation of the animal shelter, where we care for abandoned and unwanted animals.

We are excited to announce that we have partnered with PetHub to modernize our dog licence system, providing owners with a permanent tag that can act both as a regular dog licence tag and as a digital ID tag. There is no additional cost to you -- just our normal dog licence fee. Upon activation of your dog's new tag on PetHub.com, you will have access to free lost pet recovery tools. You can also choose to upgrade to access even more services. Don’t worry, you have complete control over what personal information is shared with anybody who scans the tag.

96% of PetHub recovered pets are home in less than 24 hours! Our goal is to help get lost dogs back to their families quickly, hopefully without them even having to come to the animal shelter. To learn more, visit PetHub's website.

LEASHING

Many off-leash dog areas have been created throughout the city to help exercise your four-legged friends. With the exception of these designated areas, dogs are required by law to be leashed when off their owner’s property. Last year, there was a noticeable increase in the number of uncontrolled dogs digging holes in the City's sports fields; this puts players at risk for injury, and increases the maintenance work for City staff. Help us keep our fields safe and open for use by leashing your dog.

A full list of designated off-leash areas and rules can be found at newwestcity.ca/offleashareas.

BARKING

Dogs bark occasionally. We understand. However, it is up to you to ensure that your dog is not causing a disturbance in your neighbourhood with excessive barking or vocalization. We see an increase in barking reports when the weather warms up. You can help prevent barking by reducing your dog's visual and noise triggers, and by not leaving your dog unattended while outside. If your dog has anxiety about being left alone, a professional trainer can help.

AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOUR

You are responsible to ensure that your dog does not display aggressive behaviour toward, or cause an injury to, people or other animals. This is another important reason to keep your dog leashed.

CAT OWNER RESPONSIBILITIES

PERMANENT ID

Permanent ID includes tattoos and microchips. You are required by law to have permanent ID for your cat, even if they are indoor-only.

Microchips are implanted under the skin at the scruff of the neck, and can be scanned by any vet clinic or animal shelter. Keep the microchip registration information (such as your phone number and address) up-to-date to ensure a quick reunion!

Tattoos are done in the cat’s right ear. The vet clinic that did the tattoo keeps a registry of the pets and their owners. However, keep in mind that tattoos can become illegible, which would render them useless.

A GPS tag is a good back-up for cats who will wear a collar and who might escape or wander too far.

SPAYING/NEUTERING

If your cat ventures outdoors, it must be spayed or neutered. This prevents the cat from contributing to the overpopulation issue in B.C., as well as protecting your pet from a variety of reproduction-related health issues, such as reproductive cancers and uterine infection, and reducing unwanted behaviours, such as extensive roaming, fighting, and spraying. Learn more about spaying/neutering your cat here: https://healthtopics.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/health-topics/feline/spaying-or-neutering-your-cat

OUTDOOR CATS

While sterilized cats with permanent ID are allowed to roam freely in New Westminster, keep in mind that there are many risks for outdoor cats in our communities. It is the unfortunate responsibility of our Animal Services staff to take lost cat reports, and to pick up injured and deceased cats. Risks for outdoor cats include: 

  • Parasites: fleas and ticks carry diseases, and are prevalent in our area.
  • Conflict with other pets: Fights with other cats can cause serious injuries or disease. And of course, dogs are a natural predator of cats. We have received reports of cats jumping into yards where dogs reside, only to meet a fatal outcome.
  • Cars: Even on side roads, cats can be struck by a vehicle. If they don’t succumb to their injuries right away, they can bolt, and may not be found. Even if found, you are looking at potentially life-threatening injuries and very costly vet bills.
  • Predators: We have urban wildlife across our city who will prey on cats if they have the opportunity. Coyotes are the primary killer of domestic cats, but raccoons can maim or kill cats as well.
  • Poison: Cats can become victims of secondary poisoning by hunting poisoned prey animals. Unfortunately, some cats can also get into the poison or other toxic chemicals and become very ill or die.
  • Going missing/being stolen: Sometimes, you might not know where your cat has disappeared to, and you might never find out. The lack of closure can be devastating.

We strongly encourage you to keep your cat indoors as much as possible. Indoor cats live on average 10 - 15 years, versus the 2 - 5 years that outdoor cats live. Learn more here: https://healthtopics.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/health-topics/feline/cats-indoors-or-outdoors

win $100 to Bosley's

Want to win a $100 gift card to Bosley's for your cat or dog?

Dogs

Ensure you have a valid licence from New Westminster Animal Services for your dog. Dog licences must be renewed annually, so if you haven't done that yet this year, now is the time! You have until June 30 to apply for or renew your dog's licence. At the end of the month, we'll draw a name at random from our licence database.

Cats

Share of photo of your feline friend by June 30 to be entered into the prize draw! You can either DM (direct message) the photo to the New Westminster Animal Shelter on Facebook or Instagram, or send it via email to . Please note photos may be shared on social media to help promote Pet Ownership Awareness Month.

The winner must provide proof of their cat's permanent ID (tattoo or microchip), as well as proof of New Westminster residency, in order to receive the prize.

Date posted:May 30, 2024