January 31, 2014 - 2:22 PM
The efforts to encourage, support and reward responsible dog ownership in the Central Okanagan appear to be catching on.
Information for the Dog Service during 2013 shows positive steps in several important statistical categories.
During the past year, the number of licensed dogs in the Central Okanagan grew by almost 30%. At the end of 2013, there were just over 16,900 licensed dogs in the region. Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “Over the past decade, there’s been a gradual increase in the number of owners getting their dog licensed. But the sharp rise last year is likely due to several factors. More than 3,800 new licenses were provided during the October Free Dog License Amnesty program. In addition, advance public awareness of the higher $300 fine and the zero tolerance for any dog found without a license that took effect January 1st helped to spur many dog owners to ensure their dog is licensed.”
Efforts over the past few years to promote the expected behaviours and attitudes of responsible dog ownership also seem to be paying off. During 2013, there were 632 dogs impounded, down from 685 in 2012 continuing a ten year downward trend. Smith adds, “By encouraging, supporting and rewarding responsible dog owners, and holding those that choose not to be responsible and good neighbours, we are seeing fewer incidents and conflicts involving dogs and other animals or people.”
As well, the number of Aggressive and Dangerous Dog complaints is continuing to fall. In 2011, there were 412 complaints. In 2012 there were 392 and last year there were 350 complaints involving aggressive or dangerous dogs in the Central Okanagan. Smith says, “We would hope that as more dog owners care and control their pets at all times, on and off their property, there will be fewer chances of serious conflicts involving dogs, animals and people.”
The number of dogs humanely euthanized by the Regional District continues its annual decline from a high of 306 in 2003 to 52 last year, which included 27 initiated by individual dog owners.
Information on Responsible Dog Ownership and the Regional Dog Service can be found anytime at regionaldistrict.com/dogs.
Licensed dog owners are reminded February 28th is the deadline for renewing their 2014 license. Renewals starting March 1st will have a $20 late fee added.
The annual fee for a dog that has been spayed or neutered is $20 while a dog license for those that have not costs $60.
Permanent license holders may renew online or in person. New licenses may be purchased at the Regional District office (1450 KLO Road), the Regional Dog Pound (860 Weddell Place), each main local government office and at the Kelowna branch of the SPCA (3785 Casorso Road). North Westside Road dog owners may also renew or purchase a license when staff is available at the main Firehall (514 Udell Road) in Killiney Beach.
All dog owners purchasing a license for the first time will also receive a My Dog Matters Responsible Dog Owners rewards card that can be used for discounts and special services at more than 35 local businesses listed on the mydogmatters.ca program website.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014