Letter: New dog bylaw
To the editor:
On Jan. 16, 2014, the Central Okanagan Regional District’s communications officer, Bruce Smith, issued a news release about a new bylaw. It is called Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw No. 1343, and has already passed two readings.
Mr. Smith cites a few of the changes proposed in the bylaw, none of which are likely to raise hackles. However, there are some important changes that he did not site. Among them is the right of an animal control officer to enter any property to inspect and determine whether this bylaw is being followed. The need for a warrant is not mentioned.
The animal control officer may also determine whether a dog is “dangerous” or “aggressive” for the purposes of the bylaw.
What’s not mentioned is that the “dangerous” or “aggressive” determination need not be based on what the dog has done, but rather on a prediction of what a dog may do in the future.
As ignorance of the law is not an excuse, I hope every dog guardian will take the time to read the 18 pages of the proposed bylaw.
The RDCO has even provided an online questionnaire for residents to complete before Feb. 2.
The link to the bylaw is www.regionaldistrict.com/dogs/bylaw No. 1343.
For the online questionnaire, just add the word “questionnaire” to the bylaw link.
The online bylaw questionnaire is on a page called Dog Control—What We Do, and is about a third of the page down in green lettering.
By reading the proposed bylaw and answering the questionnaire dog guardians may spare themselves problems with the law and maybe even save their dog’s life.