Have a fuzzy friend or two living with you in Toronto? Well, just like with a car, you're going to need a license to own them. According to Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 349 (PDF version), pet owners in Toronto are required to get individual licenses for all dogs AND cats. This includes cats that live indoors-only, not just outdoor cats. Tags are included as part of your license fee, and are supposed to be on the animal at all times. Licenses also need to be renewed annually, with a new fee paid and new tags issued each year for the life of your pet.
It's important to note that if you fail to license your dog or cat, you could receive a ticket or be taken to court to face a stiffer fine.
Getting Your Cat or Dog License in Toronto
Getting a licence for Fluffy or Fido is a pretty simple process. Pet licensing is handled by Toronto Animal Services and you can register your pet for his or her license online, by phone, by mail, or by dropping off your application forms in person at one of Toronto Animal Services' Animal Centres. Visit www.toronto.ca/animal_services or call 416-338-PETS (7387) between 8:30am and 4:30pm, Monday to Friday.
If you are planning to license your pet online, you'll need a credit card, the name address and phone number of your veterinary clinic and if it's a renewal, the renewal notice or the 10 code number.
Reduced Fees Available
Another good thing to note about the pet licensing process in the city is that Toronto Animal Services offers reduced licensing fees if the animal has been spayed or neutered. If you want to claim the deduction for a spayed or neutered pet, you'll just need to provide the contact information for your veterinarian and give your permission for the clinic to confirm for Toronto Animal Services that your pet has been sterilized. Fees are also reduced - or reduced even further - if the human who is applying as the animal's owner is a senior citizen (65+).
There's also a bonus to licensing your pet via BluePaw Partners wherein you can take advantage of exclusive offers and discounts on pet-related products and services for owners who licence their dogs and cats. Discounts are available on everything from pet grooming and dog walking, to pet photography and pet foods. To activate your discount, show the provided BluePaw keychain tag at stores and check your pet licence receipt for your promo code.
Licensing Your Newly Adopted Pet
If you adopt a pet through Toronto Animal Services, your first year's license fee will be added to the adoption fee for your dog or cat. If you adopt from other animal welfare organizations such as the Toronto Humane Society or the Etobicoke Humane Society you will need to apply for the license on your own.
How Your License Helps
Wondering why it's so important to get your dog or cat licensed? There are a few solid reasons. Having a license for your pet can help ensure it is returned safely to you if he or she gets lost (assuming they're wearing their tags of course - a microchip is a great back up for when they're not). But the fees paid also help support Toronto Animal Services' other operations, such as the sheltering and care of homeless pets. According to the city's animal services website, 100 percent of your pet licensing fees will go directly to help the more than 6,000 cats and dogs that find themselves in Toronto's shelters every year.
When you're going through the process of getting a pet license, TAS will also accept donations above the standard fee (of course they'll also accept your donation at any time). If you'd like to go a step further, there are also many ways to volunteer to help domestic animals in Toronto, both through TAS and through other organizations.
Updated by Jessica Padykua