February 24, 2016 - 11:51 AM
KELOWNA - If you've been hiding that third dog in the back room, you can bring him out now — the Central Okanagan is now allowing three dogs per household instead of just two.
The Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw was adopted in early 2014, limiting the number of dogs you can own to two and instituting a zero tolerance policy for unlicenced dogs.
On Monday, Feb. 22, the Regional District adopted the first amendments to the bylaw, increasing the number of dogs allowed per household as well as a few other changes.
Owners of nuisance and aggressive dogs now have to pay more to licence their dogs but will be able to apply to remove those designations after one year without any infractions for nuisance dogs and three years for aggressive dogs.
“We recognize that in some cases where an incident has occurred resulting in either a nuisance or aggressive designation, the owner has taken steps to better understand their dog’s behaviour and control their pet,” Regional District spokesperson Bruce Smith says. “As better informed dog guardians, these owners have become more responsible and are ensuring further incidents don’t take place.”
All dogs must still be licensed, however owners of dogs deemed a nuisance will be charged $40 if the animal is spayed or neutered and $80 if not. Aggressive dogs will require a $100 license if they are fixed and $140 if unaltered. Dangerous dogs will require a $500 license and there will be increased fines for dogs at large or off leash in public places. Fines and impound maintenance fees have also been increased.
“Dogs at large and unleashed cause the majority of complaints” Smith says, “Including attacks on people and other animals. Enforcement and holding the owner responsible is critical to ensuring public safety.”
Smith says more than 21,700 dogs were licensed for 2016, up by more than ten thousand from 2011.
Dog licenses can be renewed until Feb. 29, without a $20 late fee, online at www.regionaldistrict.com/doglicense. New licenses can also be purchased online or in person at any local government office, the Regional Dog Pound or the Kelowna branch of the SPCA.
Visit the regional district website for information about the regional dog service and what to do if you lose or find a dog.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016