Thunder Bay's Animal Services department will be put under the microscope, after city councillors asked for the review at their Monday night meeting.

dog snout

Thunder Bay's animal services department will undergo a review this year. (istock)

The review is a way to look into animal hoarding without creating a specific limit on dogs and cats per household.

Coun. Joe Virdiramo — one of the many councillors who would not put a limit on pets — was skeptical. 

"And how are you going to do that? You're going to go door-to-door, take a survey … [to determine] the number of pets that people have,” he said.

Debate went back and forth and, for a few minutes, most of council didn't even know what they were voting on.

After the meeting was brought back on track, Coun. Rebecca Johnson wanted to take the review one step further.

"I think there is a need to look at the whole area of enforcement and that's not just dealing with domestic animals,” she said. “I wouldn't want something to come back just looking at one component of enforcement."

One suggestion for making animal services more efficient is changing how the city deals with complaints.

Development services manager Mark Smith said the current tactic is to gently push homeowners toward compliance, using letters and mailouts.

“That takes more time and more resources [than it] would [to apply] a hammer, you know, right out of the hop,” he said.

For now, council will look at just animal services, with a review of the entire bylaw section coming later this year.