During its budget deliberations in April, the City of Kamloops decided to go ahead with an increase to the cost of its dog licensing program.

That $5 hike went into effect last week, bringing the cost of licensing an unfixed dog to $65 and a fixed pooch to $30 a year.

That city also has a category for nuisance or aggressive dogs, which cost $105 to licence. A dog with a dangerous dog designation — meaning it’s mauled or killed an animal or human — will cost nearly double that to license.

The revenue from those licences is used, in part, for upgrades to the city’s network of dog-friendly parks, which includes 15 off-leash dog parks. Those improvements are worth in the neighbourhood of $35,000, and include lighting, signs and even toys for dogs.

The City of Kamloops issues something like 7,000 licences for pooches a year.

Those little tags mean city officials can track down where the dog belongs should it ever somehow escape.

While it is a good idea to have your information associated with your pet (they are yours, after all), it’s also a mandatory program that dog owners are expected to participate in.

In Merritt, the dog licensing program is mandatory as well, though it’ll cost you less than up the highway.

Neutered and spayed dogs in Merritt are $15 to licence, while their unfixed counterparts are $30.

However, if you have a dangerous dog, a licence will cost you $1,000 a year and they’ll get a special, distinctive tag. (The process of designating a “dangerous dog” is not clear, but the category exists in the city’s bylaws in writing, anyway.)

According to a report by the city’s bylaw officer included in the Sept. 24 council meeting agenda package, the City of Merritt has issued 483 dog licences this year.

That’s a lot of dogs, but it’s certainly not all the pet dogs in Merritt.

Besides being a requirement of living in city limits, licensing your dog means in the event it escapes, it can be returned.

Dogs can be crafty little weasels, and slip out from underneath the noses of even the most attentive owners.

Sure, people could go and get their own dog tags made up without registering them with the city, but then it wouldn’t be a revenue stream benefiting public coffers.

Interestingly, the City of Kamloops also runs a voluntary cat registration program. Participating in that program will set a cat owner back $40 one time, instead of yearly, and the city will issue a tag with a licence number linked to owners’ information just like with the dog program.

In other parts of Canada, there are many other cities that have made cat licensing mandatory.

In Edmonton, it’ll set you back $20 a year to licence your kitty — $75 if it’s not fixed.

Calgary’s cat and dog licensing program applies to all those four-legged fur-balls over three months old, as opposed to the standard six.

The City of Regina offers a hefty discount for kittens under six months old, spayed/neutered cats, and show cats with the proper documentation.

The City of Winnipeg is starting up its mandatory cat licensing program in January 2015.

Other cities on the by-no-means-exhaustive mandatory cat licence list include Toronto, Thunder Bay, Barrie, Saskatoon, Oshawa, Stony Plain and Medicine Hat.

All of these municipalities can also impose fines on those without licences for their pets, who are, after all, breaking the city’s bylaws.

The cost of licensing a pet should be on the list of things prospective pet owners consider before investing in a dog (or cat, depending on where you live).

After all, responsible pet ownership goes far beyond food and vet bills.

Pet insurance can help cover unexpected vet bills, but it’s a buyer-beware market out there, just like with other types of insurance. Some research beforehand could save you a lot of trouble if your dog isn’t covered for a pre-existing condition or on travels outside of the country (lucky dog).

While critics may say these associated costs are nickel-and-diming pet owners and even discouraging pet ownership, I’m reluctant to paint it with such a simple brush.

These programs hold owners somewhat accountable for the behaviour of their pets in shared spaces, and can reunite a pet owner with their beloved animal in the event the pet makes a desperate bid for a life of leash-less freedom.

A pet is a big commitment, and $30 is chump change when it comes to the care of a dog in the long term — furry, loveable money pits that pets are.