Toronto, you now have another reason to get your cat licensed!
I reached out to Mary Lou Leiher, Program Manager, Partnerships and Marketing at Toronto Animal Services to find out more about the program.
Why has the City of Toronto decided to implement this program now?
ML “Pet licensing is a priority for the City because it helps to ensure that pets stay with their owners and don’t enter an animal shelter. If a pet becomes lost and is wearing a licence, he/she can be returned to the owner immediately 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. BluePaw is a way to reward pet owners who license their pet – it’s our way of saying “thank you” to mindful pet owners who support licensing for the same reasons we do!”
What are some of the other benefits?
ML “BluePaw business partners are invested in pet licensing as a tool to keep pets with their owners. Consumers who own a pet and want to support businesses that are truly “pet-centric” will want to support businesses that are doing their part to advance the welfare of animals.”
Where did the idea of having a pet licensing rewards program come from?
ML “The animal care and welfare community is very keen and interested in networking. Ideas and program frameworks are freely shared for the greater good of animals. The City of Toronto uses many ideas from other organizations and we also freely share information about programs that work for us. There are a handful of pet licensing rewards programs in other municipalities in Canada and all are relatively new (implemented within the last few years). We had a teleconference with these municipalities and also some others that were planning to implement a program. The feedback was very positive and inspiring.”
Are there plans to expand the list of vendors, and how can new vendors join?
ML “Becoming a BluePaw business member is so easy and there is no fee involved! The submission form is available here and once submitted we will get in touch with the business to guide them through the rest of the process which is all designed to be simple, quick and easy (we’ve had extremely good response to the ease of the process so far). Currently there are about 83,000 pet licences on file and all of these pet owners are advised to shop or use services at a BluePaw partner to save money, so the benefits to the business members are huge! So far the roster of businesses is growing every week as a result of newsletters, transit shelter ads and word of mouth. We are planning to implement some other simple marketing tools to attract new businesses, but it’s really a “no brainer” so it practically markets itself to the corporate community”
What was your role in creating the program and why do you personally feel it is so important?
ML “I was tasked with development and implementation of the program and I had a lot of help and support from the City’s Strategic Communications and Design Services staff. My current role in Toronto Animal Services involves engaging partners in the community with whom we can develop a mutually beneficial working relationship. BluePaw is a perfect example of a program that assists TAS with the goal to reduce the number of animals that end up in shelters (through a pet licence) and also benefits the corporate sector by increasing traffic to their business. Of course the real benefit of BluePaw is to the mindful pet owner, who gets rewarded for doing something great for their pet”
How will the City of Toronto be advertising the program?