DocuPet suspends controversial campaign
(Dec 28, 2017 - Kingston, ON) DocuPet, the company hired to run the pet licensing program for the City of Kingston, has suspended its controversial door-to-door "awareness campaign".
The company and the city cited safety concerns as the primary reason for the suspension of the practice, where DocuPet representatives would canvass Kingston neighbourhoods, leaving pamphlets at the door and making note of residences which appeared to have unlicensed pets.
The campaign came under intense public scrutiny in mid-November, when several citizens made claims that DocuPet employees were peering through windows and into backyards during their rounds.
At that time, Kayla Napier, DocuPet's Customer Experience Manager at the company's Kingston office, said representatives of DocuPet are “absolutely not” instructed or permitted to peer into windows of homes to determine the presence of an unregistered pet in a residence. That stance was re-iterated by company representatives again at a Kingston city council meeting in mid-December, but those statements stood in contrast with the comments from Kalee De France, a private citizen who also spoke at the city council meeting on December 19th and recalled seeing a female DocuPet employee peering through one of her windows and then leaving an "identified unregistered pet" pamphlet on her door.
The City of Kingston’s Manager of Licensing & Enforcement, Lacricia Turner, and Dan Hazell, Supervisor of Licensing & Enforcement, confirmed the suspension of the program and said that as far as they were aware, the decision had been "made by DocuPet for safety reasons," said Turner, citing several instances of negative and sometimes aggressive comments left by residents on various forms of social media. Turner also noted that one of the complaints they were aware of had alleged that there was a male canvasser, however DocuPet stated that they had employed only female canvassers in the Kingston area. The discrepancy seemed to reflect the possibility that nefarious individuals not associated with the company were using the known campaign as a guise to survey neighbourhoods for break-in opportunities.
While the campaign has been suspended, both DocuPet and the City Of Kingston would like to hear from residents if they feel an overzealous canvasser acted in any concerning manner. DocuPet can be reached at 1-855-249-1370 and the City Of Kingston can be reached at 613-546-4291, ext 3150.