Approximately 2,400 dog licenses from 2014 have not been renewed this year in the Central Okanagan.
Starting late next week, Regional District Bylaw Enforcement officers will, in addition to their regular duties, focus on an initiative to update the dog license registry. Dogs in the Central Okanagan must be licensed—there is ‘zero tolerance’ for unlicensed dogs resulting in a fine of $300.
“An owner may no longer have the dog and didn’t let the Regional District know, our data records will now be updated. We expect the majority of owners still have their dog(s),” said Communications Officer Bruce Smith. “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.”
Benefits of dog licensing include:
· A license tag on a dog’s collar or harness makes it easier for staff to reunite ‘at large’ dogs with their owners;
· Fees contribute to the operation of the Pound so that food, shelter and veterinary care can be provided to lost and homeless dogs;
· Public Safety—service to our community 24/7 including investigation of aggressive dog attacks and protection from dangerous dogs;
· Financial support of the SPCA spay & neuter program, public education initiatives including school programs, and dog adoption services;
· Address-resolve neighbor dog-related conflict;
· Capturing and assisting injured or stray dogs;
· Placement for unclaimed dogs;
· Easy online dog license renewals;
· Education about barking, at-large and dog behavior;
· A one-time, free ride home;
· And more, licensed dog owners receive the benefits of the My Dog Matters Rewards Program. More than 50 local businesses have signed on to the program and provide discounts and special services to dog owners. Visit the program website at: mydogmatters.ca.
“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,” said Smith. “We’ve seen major improvement in licensing compliance over the past two years but we still have a way to go. We project there are over 30,000 dogs in the Central Okanagan – and to date, 20,714 are licensed.”
This year, approximately 25 per cent of the dogs that end up in the pound are unlicensed.
Prior to emphasizing Responsible Dog Ownership in the Central Okanagan, that figure was 75 per cent.
“That’s a remarkable turnaround,” said Smith. “We thank dog owners for being responsible and embracing the need for a license.”
There is information available on dog licensing and Responsible Dog Ownership on the region’s website: regionaldistrict.com/dogs.
Licenses can be conveniently purchased or renewed online (https//ww3.regionaldistrict.com) or at the Regional District office (1450 KLO Road, Kelowna); at the Regional Dog Pound (890 Weddell Place, Kelowna); each municipal government office and at the Kelowna branch of the SPCA (3785 Casorso Road). Residents in Central Okanagan West Kelowna area may also purchase a license when staff is available at the main firehall (514 Udell Road) in Killiney Beach.