July 10, 2018 2:13 pm

Dog license audit underway in Okanagan

The Regional District of the Central Okanagan is cracking down on unlicensed dogs, stating there are more than 3,200 dogs who were licensed last year, but not this year.

File / Global News

Are you a dog owner? In the central Okanagan? Who licensed your pooch last year, but not this year?

Then expect a call soon, as the Regional District would like to know why.

On Tuesday, the Regional District of the Central Okanagan announced that a dog license audit is underway, stating there were 3,200 ‘missing dogs’ who were licensed last year, but not this year.

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“This week, owners of these ‘missing’ dogs will be contacted in order to update the dog license registry. All dogs in the Central Okanagan must be licensed,” the RDCO said in a press release. “The Regional Board recently reconfirmed its support for ‘zero tolerance’ when it comes to unlicensed dogs. A fine of $300 will be levied to owners of unlicensed dogs (if paid within 14 days it is reduced to $150).”

READ MORE: Dog owner or not, you’re picking up the tab for those who don’t license their animals

RDCO communications officer Bruce Smith said “we’ll be contacting the 3,282 owners in order to determine the status of the dog so that we can update our records. In the past we’ve found about half the owners no longer have their dog: it may have died or they’ve moved out of the region and didn’t let the Regional District know.

“Others still have their dog(s) and forgot to renew their license. That impacts all taxpayers because license fees have increasingly contributed to the cost of providing dog control services in the Central Okanagan.”

Smith added that “the goal of updating the registry is to ensure dog owners are responsible by licensing their dogs each year. We’ve seen a remarkable turnaround in licensing compliance over the past five years.”

According to the RDCO, 25 per cent of dogs that come to the pound are unlicensed, but prior to supporting a motion called Responsible Dog Ownership, that figure was 75 per cent. The RDCO added that there are more than 20,000 licensed dogs in the Central Okanagan.

READ MORE: Winnipeg urging pet owners to get animals licensed in new video

The RDCO said the benefits of having a dog licence include:

  • A license tag on a dog’s collar or harness makes it easier for staff to reunite ‘at large’ dogs with their owners;
  • A one-time, free ride home;
  • Fees contribute to the operation of the pound so that food, shelter and veterinary care can be provided to lost and homeless dogs;
  • Financial support of the SPCA spay and neuter program, public education initiatives including school programs, and dog adoption services;
  • Capturing and assisting injured or stray dogs;
  • Placement for unclaimed dogs;

More information available on dog licensing and Responsible Dog Ownership at regionaldistrict.com/dogs.

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