The city of Laval has introduced new regulations concerning household pets, with a particular focus on cats and dogs, and with the intention of making the city safer and more practical for pet-owners and others alike.

Sandra Desmeules, the minister responsible for animals in Laval, says she believes these new regulations propel Laval to the forefront of animal care in the province of Quebec, adding that this is a huge step forward, as this is a sector in which Laval has lagged behind for a long time. “I’m very proud of this bill,” she says. “Many other municipalities have called to congratulate us and ask us for advice since we’ve come up with it.”

The new law was passed on April 1st, 2017, however pet owners are given a grace period which allows them time for implementation. Among the changes, the most drastic ones involve the obligation for dog and cat owners to sterilize their pets as well as have a microchip implanted in them.

Desmeules says that the city is currently experiencing an overpopulation of dogs and cats, and it will therefore be mandatory to have them all sterilized as a means of population control. She adds that this is a measure the city is taking to prevent the need to euthanize these pets, as many are currently euthanized unnecessarily. Pet owners will have until January 1st, 2018 to have their pets sterilized.

Additionally, dog and cat owners are required to have a microchip implanted in their pets. Desmeules explains that the procedure involves having a small chip, about the size of a grain of rice, implanted into the animal’s neck. This chip then serves for identifying the pet’s owner if ever the animal gets lost, as the microchip will be scanned and the city will have access to information about the animal’s owners and how to contact them, thus reducing the possibility that pets have to spend time in a shelter. Owners have until January 1st, 2019 to do so. The city of Laval will be offering the service for $25 on specific days until the deadline, and dog owners are encouraged to find out when and where they can get this done by consulting the city’s website.

Both dog and cat owners will be expected to obtain a permit and a tag for their pets, which must be worn at all times. The tags must be renewed on a yearly basis and registered with the city for a fee, however Desmeules says she wants to introduce this legislation slowly, and registration will be free of charge for cat owners in 2017. For dog owners, the cost of $27 a year hasn’t changed.

One final important regulation put in place is the obligation for dogs to be on leashes at all times when outdoors, other than in identified dog parks. The city states that for any noncompliance to the rules, or for any misbehaviour of the animals, the owners will be held responsible and face fines, however Desmeules reminds Lavallers that there will be a grace period for several of these changes.

To read more about the new regulations, visit: www.amimaux.laval.ca