Kinder, gentler approach to animals for the City of Dauphin

Published on Tuesday, 09 July 2024 13:51

The City of Dauphin is taking a new approach to dealing with its four-legged residents and visitors.

That new approach is evident in the move away from the previous “Animal Control” program to an “Animal Service” approach with more of a proactive focus on animal welfare and responsible pet ownership.

“That includes rewriting the animal control bylaw, which is underway currently to include more progressive wording and more proactive guidelines for promoting responsible pet ownership,” said deputy city manager Lisa Gaudet, who is spearheading the project.

That shift began recently with city council  awarding a contract for a new Animal Services officer to David McInnes of Barkland Pet Resort, replacing Todd Tarrant, who served as the city’s Animal Control officer on an open ended contract since 2006.

As part of the contract, McInnes is offering space for a new city animal retention centre, solving a problem the city has had since the pound at Dauphin Veterinary Clinic closed in January.

“It’s been very difficult, because we do have a problem in the community with an overpopulation of dogs and cats running at large and we had no place to put them,” Gaudet said.

Under an agreement with the City, the clinic operated as the city pound since 1999. Recently the level of work required by clinic staff to satisfy pound requirements increased.

“Every cat or dog that was brought into the pound had to be cared for on the weekend, so they had to have staff coming in to feed the animals and to let them out because there was no runs attached to the kennels,” Gaudet said, adding people dropping off stray animals at the clinic was also becoming a problem.

“It was a huge strain on the vet clinic staff and they decided it just wasn’t sustainable.”

The proposal from Barkland solves that problem, Gaudet added.

“It’s not just one Animal Services officer, it’s a team. They have two certified dog behaviorists on staff and they have an excellent team of people who are going to be able to provide 24/7 animal services for the city.” she said.

Also new this year is a Spay Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP).

Based on a voucher system with the two local veterinary clinics the program is open to everyone who requires financial assistance with spay or neuter.

The City will cover 50 per cent of costs to a maximum of $175 for female dogs, $125 for male dogs, $125 for female cats and $75 for male cats to a maximum of $10,000 per year. 

Applicants must show proof of Dauphin residence and provide proof of a current rabies vaccination and a pet license.

To build on that, Gaudet hopes to introduce a Trap Neuter Release program in the near future.

Read more in this weeks Dauphin Herald.

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