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Monday, July 25, 2011
Pet licensing reviewed
TORONTO - It will be up to Mayor Rob Ford and his executive committee if they want to keep Toronto in the pet licensing business.
Councillors on the licensing committee voted Monday to toss suggestions for cost-savings from a core services review by KPMG to the executive committee’s September meeting.
Scraping pet licences for cats and dogs, clawing back on animal care and enforcement or outsourcing some or all of its delivery is recommended by the consultants.
Other cost-saving suggestions include reducing the city’s response time for emergency animal rescue and requiring owners to surrender animals at the city’s shelters rather than picking them up.
In a move that seems to go against Ford’s mantra for smaller government, the committee did vote 3-to-2 in favour of asking for a report from the city manager on expanding animal licensing in Toronto and updating the online licensing system.
The idea, floated originally by Councillor Paula Fletcher, includes asking for a way to maximize donations to Toronto Animal Services. In 2008, 5,000 people donated around $131,000 to animal services.
A bid by Councillor Frances Nunziata to have the city manager report on the possibility of reducing the role of animal services, including getting out of the animal shelter and adoption services entirely, failed. Nunziata’s motion to look at removing licensing requirements for businesses like clothing drop boxes also was defeated by the committee.
“The motions will still be on the executive agenda,” Nunziata said.
Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker said he believes Toronto residents with cats or dogs “don’t mind paying a little bit of money” towards animal services.
“To say we’re just going to abandon this, that if there is a cat or a dog hit by a car in the middle of the road in pain, that maybe we’ll get there by tomorrow morning or tomorrow afternoon, if there is an animal suffering we have an obligation to that animal,” De Baeremaeker said.
“What we can’t do is leave that dog or cat lying in the middle of Lawrence Ave. suffering while people stop traffic and are horrified by what they see,” he said.
The meeting included several passionate pleas from animal rights supporters not to cut services like shelters and distressed animal pickup.
Liz White from the Animal Alliance of Canada warned that cutting back on Toronto Animal Services “means killing more animals.”