Efforts by the Regional District of Central Okanagan to encourage and support responsible dog ownership have been recognized by the Union of B.C. Municipalities.
RDCO has received an honourable mention in the 2017 Best Practices, Excellence in Action category for its ongoing promotion of responsible dog ownership in the Central Okanagan.
“Since a major service review in 2012 of the dog control service, the regional district has undertaken many strategic changes and planned improvements,” said Bruce Smith, communications officer.
“These have resulted in a substantial increase in the number of dogs that are licensed in the region (24,122 in 2016 vs 12,818 in 2012) and an increase in the level of cost-recovery for the service, lowering the contributions required from general taxpayers. As well, there’s been a marked decrease in the number of dogs that are impounded without a license, making it easier for staff to reunite lost dogs with their owners.”
A number of initiatives have been introduced over the past five years to support responsible dog owners including a complete overhaul of bylaw regulations resulting in the Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw, introduction of the My Dog Matters rewards program, the new My Dog Park Finder App, summertime dog ambassadors and introduction of online dog licensing to remove barriers and make it more convenient for owners to purchase and renew licenses each year.
“We’re proud of our dog control program for being proactive with responsible dog ownership. Our staff is often contacted by other local governments interested in learning about our creative approach,” said Gail Given, RDCO chairperson.
“We believe that most dog owners are responsible and want to encourage and support them. The results show that we’re on track and we’ll continue to pursue initiatives to support responsible dog owners.”