Letter: Dog bylaws should get warrants to enter property
To the editor:
I read in the Kelowna Capital News (Jan. 23) a letter by Helen Schiele of Kelowna regarding this new Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw.
While it sounds good, she mentioned something in there that quite terrified me—dog bylaw officers entering your property (and possibly homes) to ensure this bylaw is being upheld—without a warrant.
This should be illegal.
Under no circumstance should any officer, be it from the RCMP or the city, be allowed to enter someone’s home or property without a legal, bonafide warrant. If the officer obtains one (a warrant) due to multiple complaints from neighbours, then, and only then, would he or she be allowed to investigate someone’s home due to breach of bylaw.
If a dog is aggressive, vicious or in any way dangerous, that should only be determined if there are complaints from neighbours and a warrant is obtained to investigate. This should not be done on a random basis just because a bylaw officer wants to check and see if this bylaw is being upheld. This would be considered a complete invasion of privacy and goes against the Privacy Act of B.C. (http://bccla.org/privacy-handbook/main-menu/privacy2contents/privacy2-11/).
A search warrant is required to do any kind of investigating within someone’s home. It states so in Section 8 of the CBA BC: (http://www.cbabc.org/For-the-Public/Dial-A-Law/Scripts/Your-Rights/200.aspx) before you can search you must have a warrant and a reason for your search.
If city council wants to uphold the provincial law, then I highly recommend that they re-examine this new bylaw before passing it. I know that I would not feel comfortable in my own home knowing that there could be someone from bylaw prowling through my home and property without legitimate reason to do so just to see if I am “abiding by the bylaw.” I would feel as though I’m being stalked and scrutinized and that is not how I would hope to be made to feel—especially by someone that you’re supposed to be able to trust (legal officers).