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DocuPet dog licensing program could help find missing pets, relieve shelters

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media File Photo
Mason, a one and a half-year-old pit bull mix, at the CNY SPCA in July.

The city of Syracuse is entering into a three-year agreement with a dog licensing system. The goal is to raise the city’s participation rate in the state mandated dog license program.

Syracuse has only a seven percent participation rate, slightly lower than the national average. DocuPet, a Canadian corporation based in Kingston, Ontario, helps municipalities improve the experience and participation in the dog licensing program. CEO Grant Goodwin said it is important to license pets so they can be identified.

“When pets get lost, getting them back to their home safely can be very difficult," Goodwin said. "If they can’t get them home safely, they go to a shelter. Shelters are very expensive to operate. Often they are overburdened and often the dog is not able to go out the front door but out a different way. You can imagine what that is.”

Goodwin said dog licensing can also reduce the cost of animal control in cities.

"Those who own pets, typically love pets and they want to see them cared after properly," Goodwin said. "If they license their pets, the burden of animal control can be better allocated in the community."

DocuPet provides an online licensing program and special tags for animals with a unique code and online profile, tied to a 24/7 call center. Common Councilor Joe Carni said DocuPet is also setting up its U.S. headquarters in Syracuse.  

“Hopefully that will create some more jobs and as they expand in the U.S., Syracuse is going to be their HQ where everyone is coming out of,” Carni said.

DocuPet also offers a rewards program, coupons and gift cards to licensed pet owners. 

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.