November 07, 2015 - 10:30 AM
CENTRAL OKANAGAN – The Regional District of the Central Okanagan estimates there are still more than 9,000 unlicenced dogs, and are launching a proactive effort to ensure all dogs in the district are in compliance with the law.
Communications officer Bruce Smith says approximately 2,400 dog licences from 2014 were not renewed and starting next week, bylaw enforcement officers will focus on an initiative to update their registry.
“The goal of this initiative is to ensure dog owners are responsible and license their dogs and understand the consequence of not renewing the dog’s license,” he says in a media release. “We’ve seen major improvement in licensing compliance over the past two years but we still have a way to go.”
Smith admits that many of the dogs whose licences were not renewed may have transferred to other owners or died, but that still leaves an unacceptably high number.
“We expect the majority of owners still have their dogs,” he says in the release. “That’s not fair to the dog owners who responsibly renew their dog’s license annually. It also impacts all taxpayers because license fees contribute to the cost of providing dog control services in the Central Okanagan.”
Dog licensing makes it easier for staff to reunite ‘at large’ dogs with their owners and investigate dog-related incidents. Fees also contribute to the operation of the Pound so that food, shelter and veterinary care can be provided to lost and homeless dogs and provide financial support to the SPCA spay and neuter program, public education initiatives including school programs, and dog adoption services.
A licenced dog is also entitled to a one-time, free ride home if found as well as more My Dog Matters rewards.
“More than 50 local businesses have signed on to the program and provide discounts and special services to dog owners,” Smith says. “This year, approximately 25 per cent of the dogs that end up in the pound are unlicensed. Prior to emphasizing Responsible Dog Ownershipin the Central Okanagan, that figure was 75 per cent. That’s a remarkable turnaround. We thank dog owners for being responsible and embracing the need for a license.”
Licenses can be purchased or renewed online or at the Regional District office on KLO Road. They can also be purchased at the Regional Dog Pound on Weddell Place, municipal government offices and at the Kelowna branch of the SPCA. Residents in West Kelowna may also purchase a license when staff is available at the main firehall in Killiney Beach.
For more information visit the Responsible Dog Ownership web page or My Dog Matters.
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