The efforts to encourage, support and reward responsible dog ownership among Lake Country and North Westside residents appear to be catching on.
During the past year, the number of licensed dogs in the Central Okanagan grew by almost 30 per cent to 16,900 animals.
“The sharp rise last year is likely due to several factors,” said Bruce Smith, with the Regional District of Central Okanagan.
“More than 3,800 new licenses were provided during the October free dog license amnesty program. In addition, advance public awareness of the higher $300 fine and the zero tolerance for any dog found without a license that took effect Jan. 1 helped to spur many dog owners to ensure their dog is licensed.”
During 2013, there were 632 dogs impounded, down from 685 in 2012, continuing a 10-year downward trend.
As well, the number of dangerous dog complaints is continuing to fall.
In 2011, there were 412 complaints, while there were 392 in 2012 and 350 in 2013.
“We would hope that as more dog owners care and control their pets at all times, on and off their property, there will be fewer chances of serious conflicts involving dogs, animals and people,” said Smith.
The number of dogs humanely euthanized by the regional district continues its annual decline from a high of 306 in 2003 to 52 last year, which included 27 initiated by individual dog owners.
Licensed dog owners within RDCO are reminded Feb. 28 is the deadline for renewing their 2014 license. Renewals starting March 1 will have a $20 late fee added. The annual fee for a dog spayed or neutered is $20 while a dog license for those that have not costs $60.