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Letter: Dog bylaw powers go beyond what’s sensible
To the editor:
There are some clauses in the proposed bylaw that should be of great concern to all citizens—not just dog guardians. Please note these are changes Regional District of the Central Okanagan has not publicized.
1. Right of inspection—a dog officer can enter any premises at any reasonable time to determine if the bylaw is being obeyed. Any person in violation of any part of this bylaw will have to immediately provide owner’s photo ID and dog licensing information, and are subject to a minimum $50 fine.
2. Upon death of, or sale, or transfer of any dog to a new owner, a dog officer must be notified. See #1
3. All owners must clean up excrement in their own yard in a timely manner. See #1.
4. Leashes must now be six foot maximum. See #1
5. Any dog can be declared a nuisance dog if three tickets are issued within 12 months. The tickets do not have to be proven—just issued.
6. Emotional trauma can now be a reason to seize any dog.
It has been shown in court that there was little to no training of dog officers, RCMP investigation findings were ignored, no investigation was done on complaints, and a reward system was in place. Now dog officers are being given power equal to a psychiatrist? This is outrageous, completely irresponsible and even dangerous.
7. Any dog can be seized for biting. No allowance is given for provocation.
Let us take two examples. First: Your dog is being attacked by another dog. Your dog avoids the attack and then defends itself. In the process your dog bites the other dog. Second: Your dog is being kicked and beaten with a two by four. Your dog defends itself by biting. Under this proposed bylaw, and the current provincial law, there is no consideration given to the circumstances. Your dog is seized simply for biting. This is unfair and irresponsible.
8. Any dog seized for any reason will be held for a minimum of 72 hours, at the owner’s expense.
There is no mention of medical aid—just food, water and shelter, (in a cage).
There are more items of concern so please read the bylaw entirely.
The RDCO says they are trying to promote responsible ownership. Why then are there no provisions or rewards for an owner who takes steps to remedy any problems with their dog or themselves? There must be some incentives and time limits to any designation to reward a dog guardian’s efforts to improve.
It is long overdue that the public must demand the same responsibility from the RDCO that they are demanding from the public. This is a poorly written, unfair and irresponsible bylaw that should be completely rewritten. Unfortunately the RDCO has not indicated that there will be any changes to this proposed bylaw. This, in itself, is completely irresponsible and must not be allowed to happen.
The open house is Jan. 29 and an online questionnaire is at regionaldistrict.com/dogs. The RDCO phone number is 250-763-4918. Make your opinion known and heard.