Notes from regional district dog bylaw meeting
To the editor:
I attended the RDCO regular board meeting on February 24, to find out if the Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw No. 1343 would be adopted after its third reading.
It was adopted unanimously, with a few amendments. Because at least two board members objected to permitting three dogs per house or dwelling unit, that issue was deferred to a future vote, leaving the two-dog limit in place for now.
Mr. Bruce Smith (RDCO communications officer) told the board that the new bylaw had been well publicized in the media after the January 15 second reading, As a result, there were 909 responses to the online questionnaire, 18 emails, and 35 people attended the Open House.
Following the third reading, the board was invited to ask questions about the bylaw or the online questionnaire. There were no questions.
I was surprised that no one asked whether the public responses had been largely in favour, opposed or indifferent to the bylaw. I would have liked to know the results of all that information gathering. No one asked anything about the bylaw either. Instead the bylaw was described by directors as "better than before", "logical", a "huge step forward", and (gasp) a "gargantuan leap forward".
Councillor Hobson, added to the praises by thanking the chief bylaw enforcement officer for having done a tremendous job on the bylaw.
While I hope that the new bylaw will work well for dog guardians in the RDCO, I am not optimistic. One of the directors expressed a hope that Dog Control Services would in time be financed by dog licensing fees and fines, much like they are in Calgary. But he missed an important cultural aspect: Dogs are welcome in most, if not all, of Calgary's parks. That is not the case in Kelowna.
With the threat of a $300 fine for unlicensed dogs, dog guardians in the RDCO will surely license their dogs. A license fee of $20 is a small price to pay to avoid giving RDCO $300 for their services.
There is an audio link on the RDCO website to the Dog Control item on the February 24 agenda. It comes up about 45 minutes after the start of the meeting.
Unfortunately, the audio is not much better than in the meeting room. A few of the directors speak well and can be heard clearly. However, one director in particular seemed to be mumbling into his elbow, and he, unfortunately, had a lot to say.