Town to stick with resident dogcatcher

By Karen Fallon

Although 21st Century’s tender came in higher than its two competitors, council agreed that because of prior services rendered by the dog catching operation they would once again award the contract to the local company.

According to a report by Stephen Brown, Chief Building Official, which was presented to council on March 5, 21st Century K9 continues to be best suited to meet the town’s dog retrieval needs.

“We are satisfied with the services of our current dog catcher,” said Brown.

The town received tenders from: Philip Byrne, from Lakeshore for an annual fee of $13,800 plus tax. K9 Services, out of Essex for $17,000 plus tax and Amherstburg’s Michael Beckett, of 21st Century K9, for a cost of $20,000 plus tax.

Brown said Michael Beckett has a proven service record with the town as a dogcatcher and owns his licensed kennel. He also added that the Community Standards Officer has compiled a professional working relationship with each of Beckett’s alternate staff members over the past ten years, who also live locally.

The fact that Beckett’s cost was “significantly” higher that the other applicants was a concern, to Councilor Robert Pillon.

However, he noted: “I guess I like the idea of a local service and he does much more than capture the dogs, keep them three days and then shoot them out, I have heard that dogs are being rehabilitated out there.”

Brown reported that in 2010 there were 66 dogs captured by 21st Century K9. Within 24 hours 55 of those animals had been returned to their owners. Six were returned to their owners within three days and only five were delivered to the pound in Lakeshore.

Brown noted that some of the dogs, which were wearing their municipal dog tags, were delivered to their homes by the dogcatcher.

“It was kind-of a reward, if you had bought your dog tag and that’s what we encourage,” said Brown.

That’s not to say that dogs that are continually being picked up, won’t be shipped off to the pound in Lakeshore, he added.

Councilor Diane Pouget says she is “concerned” how the town can recoup the costs associated with the service and asked if the cost of catching a dog is passed on to the dog owner after its return.

Dog tags are the cost to the dog owner, says Brown. If a dog tag has been purchased the dog is returned, as soon as possible. However, the dog isn’t returned to the owner until a tag is purchased from the town.

The cost of a dog license in Amherstburg is: unspayed $25, spayed $15. For those who own more than two dogs they will need a kennel license at a cost of $50. However, these prices only apply until April 30, after this date the fees are doubled.

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