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« How to Build a Dog - Report from National Geographic | Main | Weekly Roundup -- Week Ending 1/22/12 »

January 21, 2012


Garry Saunders

This has never made any difference to shelter killing anywhere it has been tried. Licensing is not the answer.


You're wrong Garry. Calgary, Canada - arguable the current gold standard in sheltering - is fully funded by licensing.


I know a lot of people who are wary of licensing their dogs because they are afraid that the county will use it to keep track of certain breeds of dogs and use that information if BSL were to be passed. And honestly, I don't blame them for their paranoia. My parents' lab and terrier mix are licensed, as we don't experience the same paranoia since the dogs are a lab and a little terrier mix, and VA has a state law forbidding BSL.



You bring up a great point -- and it's one we still have to deal with in KC. There is still a lot of earned distrust of local animal controls that will take YEARS to overcome. This is one reason I'm happy they codified the free ride home program, so it can't be changed on the whim of whoever is in charge of AC. This, along with contractual agreements that they cannot remove dogs from homes for being over the pet limit or a host of other violations (the can be removed for cruelty/neglect) are good steps. But yes, trust is a very difficult thing to win back.

Garry, I acknowledge that licensing is generally frowned upon as a part of the No Kill Equation, but as Therese notes, it can and has been successful in other places -- Calgary being a major one. The difference here, that unlike Calgary which charges $65 for pet licenses, ours is more affordable. We aren't funding our entire operation off of it, but it helps. And Calgary has about a 90% licensing compliance rate....and about 50% of the animals they take in are returned to their owners safely.


a local city here offers a 'lifetime license' option for owners whose dogs are sterilized and microchipped- a one time $40 fee and they never need to pay again- just bring in proof of rabies annually to get your new license. i always liked that option
but i definitely like the free ride home idea!

Chris Harris

Love what's being done, Brent! Hope all barriers to licensing can be removed. I also believe many of the Calgary model programs and services are compatible with the No Kill Equation when they are implemented properly. Bill Bruce notes that they've found it is 90% education and only 10% enforcement when the community understands they will be receiving actual value and services in exchange for ID/licensing their pets. They also have a fund where people can donate to cover license fees for those who can't afford them.

(Free recorded webinar, "The Calgary Model for Success", with Bill Bruce, from Aug. 19, 2011,

Our city recently found more revenue when they realized they weren't charging surrounding communities for providing AC sheltering for dogs brought here.

Another idea to increase the return-to-owner rate is to make pet owners aware of techniques and information they can use if their dog or cat becomes lost. Good info for those who've found lost pets too. Things Animal Control and rescue groups should be aware of so fewer pets will end up in shelters or rescue groups.

I highly recommend referring pet owners to the sites with unique recovery tips:
Missing Pet Partnership,
and Cats in the Bag,

The free recorded webinar by Best Friends Animal Society and, "Think Lost, Not Stray", with Kat Albrecht, founder of Missing Pet Partnership non-profit pet detective agency uncovers some surprising barriers to increasing the return-to-owner rate. Really worth watching for those serious about proactive redemption.

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