Responsible dog owners rewarded

There are rewards in store for dog owners in the Central Okanagan that have licensed their pet

There are rewards in store for dog owners in the Central Okanagan that have licensed their pet.

Owners with a valid licensed dog in Lake Country and the Fintry area south will be automatically enrolled in the new ‘My Dog Matters’ Responsible Dog Owner Rewards program.

Once you receive your special ‘My Dog Matters’ rewards card in the mail, you can start using it to receive various discounts and benefits offered by participating businesses.

The variety of businesses and links to their rewards can be found on the MyDogMatters.ca website.  That’s also where you’ll find a link to licence information for dog owners that haven’t yet purchased a dog tag.  New businesses that wish to take part in the program will continually be added.

“The first principle of being a responsible dog owner in the Central Okanagan is licensing your pet,” said Bruce Smith, communications officer.

“We believe that most dog owners in our region are responsible and don’t require much interaction with our Dog Service staff.  Since these dog owners are doing the right thing and following our bylaw requirement for purchasing a licence and renewing it each year, they will have an opportunity to receive rewards and get something back from the businesses participating in the program.”

Over the course of a year, these benefits can add up to savings for a dog owner, compared with the $20 fee to licence a spayed or neutered dog and $60 if the dog hasn’t been fixed.

“Besides the benefits of ‘My Dog Matters,’ licensing your dog can be your dog’s ticket home in the event that it gets away,” said Smith. “If your licensed dog is found or reported to Dog Service staff at the Weddell Place pound, they may be able to facilitate a reunion without you having to make a trip to the facility.”

As well as providing funds for the Dog Service and operation of the pound, license fees contribute to the $60,000 in funding provided by the Regional District to the Kelowna branch of the BC SPCA for its spay/neuter and public education programs.

Smith reminds Central Okanagan dog owners that starting in January 2014, the district will follow zero tolerance for any dog found without a licence.

“We’re currently reviewing and revising our dog bylaw and one of the changes that will be recommended to the Regional Board will be increased fines for unlicensed dogs.”

“That will make the annual cost of a licence and the ‘My Dog Matters’ rewards card that much more of a benefit.”

This is one step in a multi-faceted program underway by the Regional District to encourage and support responsible dog ownership and licensing in the Central Okanagan.

Dog licenses may be purchased in person at any local government office in the Central Okanagan and the SPCA branch in Kelowna. Locations are available in the Dog section of the Regional District website regionaldistrict.com/dogs. That’s where you’ll find other information about the Regional Dog service and what to do if you lose or find a dog.