Residents often say dogs outnumber kids in Ashland, both to point out how popular dogs are in town, and to bemoan the decline in the numbers of children that led Ashland to close two of its five elementary schools in the past several years.

Fact or fiction? There are more dogs than kids in Ashland.

Residents often say dogs outnumber kids in Ashland, both to point out how popular dogs are in town, and to bemoan the decline in the numbers of children that led Ashland to close two of its five elementary schools in the past several years.

No one knows for sure exactly how many kids and dogs currently live in Ashland, but it appears that dogs are putting up stiff competition when it comes to outpacing the number of kids.

Jackson County records show there are 1,898 dog licenses in Ashland, plus another 495 on the outskirts of town, for a total of 2,393. Not all dog owners have licensed their animals, county officials said.

Meanwhile, the Ashland School District recently reported its enrollment is at 2,704 so far this year, down from 2,798 in September 2009.

The school district includes Ashland itself, and also stretches into rural areas west toward the Green Springs area, and south to the California border, said Superintendent Juli Di Chiro.

Some students go to private schools, while others are home schooled, so those kids don't figure into enrollment numbers. The numbers also don't include children who are too young to attend school.