The City of Edmonton will be updating its online services for animal licensing.

Officials said as of April 7, families will be able to get their license applications completed via the City website.

Something that Manager for Community Standards, David Atiken, said may help improve low licensing numbers.

“We think that most homes in Edmonton have pets. We think that one in three, if not more.”

However, he explained that just 35 per cent of cats and 65 per cent of dogs in the city are registered.

Atiken said about 8,000 animals get dropped off to the Animal Care and Control Centre each year. Officials do their best to reunite the animals with their families.

“But sometimes we can’t. Sometimes those pets aren’t adoptable and we would love to return those animals to their owners but unfortunately because they are not licensed we are not afforded that opportunity,” he said, acknowledging that some have to be euthanized.

Dwight Nagel said he has seen first-hand the benefits of having his pets licensed.

“With the dog we had prior to this one she was lost and picked up, because of the tags and the tattoo they found her and got a hold of us and we got her back.”

Lynette Shorten said proper licensing was important for those families who travel with their pets too.

“I think it is important to have that identification on her that can bring her home.”

She said her family would not leave a stone unturned in the search for their dog.

“She is part of our family. She is everything to us.”

Animal Care and Control officer Victoria Clunes said pets that were licensed may not even seen the inside of the Animal Care and Control Centre.

“It makes it a lot easier for us to get in touch with the pet owner and return that dog home in the field without having to bring them into the Animal Care and Control Facility.

“If they do have a microchip or a tattoo they can add that to their pet account and we can find the owners that way,” she added.

Atiken also encourages pet owners to update their information to help the City track down the animal’s home.

“Sometime we have old information and it makes it harder to reunite the pets with old information and addresses.”

He said the costs of not having a pet registered just didn’t make sense.

“It is affordable to license and the ramifications of not having a license is $250 so to me it is an easy decision.”

Money raised through the program goes to support the facility.

With files from Amanda Anderson