Aggressive dogs raise concern

Officials are hoping to put a bite on a growing number of aggressive dogs in the North Okanagan.

Officials are hoping to put a bite on a growing number of aggressive dogs in the North Okanagan.

Although wandering dogs and barking remain the top complaints received by K9 Control, there is concern about the rate of aggression among ‘man’s best friend.’

“We’re getting a lot more aggressive dogs,” said Pat Ellis, of K9 Control, which has been providing animal control services in the region since 1985.

While there are some breeds which are, “concerning,” when it comes down to it, the dog isn’t the problem.

“It’s not the dog, it’s the people who own them,” said Ellis.

Owners play a key role in training their four-legged friends, to not only be gentle, but polite.

“Have a little consideration for your neighbours,” said Ellis of barking dogs.

“We’ve got to educate the public.”

One particular breed of concern for Ellis is wolves.

“When you cross a wolf with an almost domesticated dog, what are you going to end up with? Something that’s still got that killer instinct.”

An aggressive wolf cross was destroyed in February in Spallumcheen after it went after some sheep.

Owners of aggressive dogs are warned that fines can be issued if your dog goes after someone.

“Spallumcheen has a $500 fine,” said Ellis.

No matter what breed of dog you own, licensing them is the best way to keep them, and others, safe.

In Spallumcheen, owners are given great incentive to get licenses, which are only $5.

“We’re trying to entice people to do it,” said Spallumcheen Coun. Todd York.

Although the township is celebrating a record number of licensed dogs (115 in the first quarter of 2015), it’s still not enough.

“Most of the dogs we pick up in Spallumcheen don’t have a license,” said Ellis.

Yet having a license can result in additional cost savings, plus getting your dog back to you sooner.

The cost for first impound is $75, but if the dog has a license, the first impound is only $35.

“It makes a big difference if you have one,” said Ellis.

To help educate owners about their roles and responsibilities in owning well-behaved dogs, K9 Control is open to coming and talking to children’s groups and showing a video to teach kids.

For more information about dog control, visit dogcontrol.ca or call 250-545-8070.