• John Jantak

Ste. Anne de Bellevue dogs and cats must be microchipped beginning next year


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Even indoor cats who do not wander outdoors will have to be microchipped by their owners in Ste. Anne’s.

In an effort to stem the tide of missing pets, all Ste. Anne’s cat and dog owners will be required to have their pets microchipped beginning on January 1, 2020, said Mayor Paola Hawa.

The microchip initiative is part of draft By-law 812 that was introduced during the regular council session on Monday, February 11. The city decided to follow the City of Montreal’s lead which requires all pet owners to have their cats and dogs microchipped by the end of 2019.

Adopting Montreal’s initiative

“We inspired ourselves from the regulations that were adopted by Montreal last year. They did a lot of homework and worked with animal rights groups and veterinarians. They had a whole bunch of experts that came up with these rules,” Mayor Hawa told The Journal during a telephone interview on February 12.

“We asked ourselves, ‘Why are we going to reinvent the wheel especially when we don’t have the resources to do the extensive research they did?’ So we basically adopted what they did. All dogs will have to be microchipped to receive a tag. The dog owner will have to provide proof their pet has been spayed or neutered and has a microchip,” said Hawa.

Electronic pet identification

A microchip is a permanent method of electronic identification. The chip is about the size of a grain of rice and is implanted just under the skin between the shoulder blades. It has a unique identification number that can be read with an electronic scanner.

Pets may be exempted from the program for medical reasons, but owners will have to provide a letter from a veterinarian that states the reason why the animal should be exempted, said Hawa. In addition to dogs, all cats in the city will also have to microchipped, including indoor cats.

PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

Ste. Anne’s council adopted a draft by-law on Monday, February 11, that will require all cat and dog owners to have to have their pets’ microchipped beginning on January 1, 2020.

Finding lost dogs and cats

“The microchips are meant not only to control the pet population but also to find lost dogs and cats. Pets can get away from their owners. When an owner loses their pet and with the heartbreak that comes with that, the pet’s safety is also at risk. It makes less work for the shelters because they have to try to find their owners and having a microchipped animal makes it easier to return lost pets,” said Hawa.

“It seems like a very Big Brother approach but it’s actually in the best interest of the pet, the owner and society. Even indoor cats can get out. Take a look at Lost and Found Pets of the West Island on Facebook. How many hundreds of cats are lost each year? It’s for the owners' and cats' benefit to be microchipped. It’s a win-win benefit for everybody.

Prohibiting dangerous dogs

The by-law will also introduce dog license revocation mechanisms, which will include supervising the owners and caretakers of potentially dangerous dogs and to prohibit dangerous dogs on the territory of the city, another initiative that Ste. Anne’s is adopting from the City of Montreal.

Hawa recalled a tragic incident that occurred in the north sector of the city in September, 2017 where one dog mauled another dog to death, as defining a dangerous dog. “It’s not breed specific. It’s dogs that would have bitten somebody before, a person, or another dog,” said Hawa.

“We identified that we were weak in terms of the implementation tools we had so again we inspired ourselves from the City of Montreal who went through the entire discussion of what is a dangerous dog. Again, we didn’t reinvent the wheel,” Hawa said. “We relied on what a group of experts reached as a consensus.”

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