Letter: Dog bylaw hustled by in dead of winter

When and where the next reading of the draft bylaw? I would like to be a silent witness when this bylaw becomes law.

To the editor:

Thanks to the proposed dog bylaw, I now know how to be a responsible dog guardian in the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

I can begin by dumping my dog’s Flexileash, and use an authorized 6-foot leash.

I should not ask animal control officers for a warrant if they decide to check whether I have properly cleaned up our back yard of dog feces.

And I better not waste my time disputing a dog bylaw ticket. Just getting a ticket is proof of guilt.

To be fair to RDCO, animal control officers desperately need license and ticket fees revenue to enforce City of Kelowna’s park restrictions. The vast majority of Kelowna’s urban parks do not even permit dogs on leash. That’s a lot of parks for animal control officers to troll in search of irresponsible dog guardians in forbidden parks.

The City of Calgary, reputed to be very dog-friendly—perhaps because it allows dog guardians entry to nearly all parks—was used by the RDCO as a model for the new bylaw. Until Kelowna allows dog guardians the freedom which Calgary grants to its dog guardians, the bylaw model makes no sense.

The new bylaw received two readings before a press release was issued on Jan. 16. It was authored by Mr. Bruce Smith, the communications and intergovernmental officer, Regional District of Central Okanagan (no restrictions on length of title, unfortunately). An open house was held on Jan. 29, and the public had until Feb. 2 to comment in an online questionnaire.

The RDCO spent most of 2013 drafting the new bylaw, but decided to inform the public in the dead of winter when dog guardians are less likely to meet outdoors and share the news. Just 18 days is all the time the public had to read, digest, and find the online questionnaire.

Before it is too late, I would like Mr. Bruce Smith to tell the Capital News when and where the next reading of the draft bylaw will take place. I, for one, would like to be a silent witness when this bylaw becomes law.

Helen Schiele,



Kelowna Capital News