A Falkland man will present a 600+ signature petition to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District board Thursday, May 20, opposing dog control in Electoral Area D, which includes Falkland, Silver Creek, Salmon Valley and Ranchero/Deep Creek. (File photo)

A Falkland man will present a 600+ signature petition to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District board Thursday, May 20, opposing dog control in Electoral Area D, which includes Falkland, Silver Creek, Salmon Valley and Ranchero/Deep Creek. (File photo)

600-plus sign Falkland man’s petition against dog control

Similar bylaw rejected by 200 public hearing attendees when topic came up 9 years ago

A petition opposing dog control in Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s Electoral Area D, which includes Falkland, has some bark.

The petition, launched by Falkland resident Kevin Mitchell, has more than 600 signatures. Mitchell will present the petition to the CSRD board at its next regular meeting Thursday, May 20, in Salmon Arm, saying Area D does not want dog control.

“Largely an agricultural area, our dogs provide many services without any need for dog licences, bylaw enforcement or other forms of control,” said Mitchell on his petition. “These include livestock production, family security and companionship for all ages.”

Mitchell said the prospect of bylaw enforcement is further made more threatening by having bylaw officers, with authority, entering personal and business properties without notice or consent.

“Imagine you’re enjoying a quiet evening at home and suddenly people in uniforms come over a fence seeking out your dog, seize it, and claim an anonymous complaint reported your dog barking,” he said.

Mitchell pointed out that nine years ago, at a July 2012 public hearing in Falkland hosted by Area D director Rene Talbot, an overwhelming majority of the 200 attendees rejected the idea of a dog control bylaw. Talbot, at that time, declared the result to be the “end of the story.”

It was Talbot – who remains Area D director – who expressed a desire for the CSRD to put together an online survey in January asking for input on the possibility of dog control throughout the electoral area. Ranchero is currently provided a dog control service that includes enforcement on aggressive dogs, roaming dogs and barking complaints, and a requirement for dog licensing.

Survey participants were asked to share their level of concern regarding dogs running loose in neighbourhoods, and dogs attacking people and animals. It also asked how the regional district should deal with aggressive dogs and what kind of dog control program suits residents best.

In an interview with the Salmon Arm Observer in February, Talbot said calling for the survey was “a matter of public safety to me.”

“I can’t ignore what people are saying. Everyone has a right to feel safe, regardless of where they live. And there are aggressive dogs, there are dangerous dogs,” said Talbot. “I look at it this way, if I did absolutely nothing and a child was attacked by a dog, how would I feel, that I just turned a blind eye and said ‘no, it’s not a problem.’”

Regarding the meeting in Falkland years ago, as well as one in Silver Creek, Talbot said it kind of went sideways and those who wanted dog control didn’t speak up. But he said people have been speaking up and that he cannot ignore their complaints.

The CSRD said in mid-February that close to 400 people responded to the month-long survey.

CSRD staff has been directed to provide information on the survey and options to the board for expanding dog control service to all of Electoral Area D in 2022.

READ MORE: Dog control survey for rural Shuswap communities prompts petition

READ MORE: Dog control survey results rolls in for North Okanagan-Shuswap

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