Dog bylaw meeting addresses confusion about rules

Les Johnson
By Les Johnson
March 20th, 2013

It was standing room only by the time they started the Kootenay / Boundary  Pet Dog Association town hall about the proposed changes to bylaw 1511 at the Seniors Centre hall in Grand Forks last night.

Over 100 people packed in to hear what was happening, and why, and express their concerns and fears about this bylaw. They came from the towns of Grand Forks and Greenwood as well as Area D.

In response to the RDKB’s proposed Animal Control Bylaw No. 1511 this meeting was called. Many dog owners are upset with parts of the bylaw that they see as onerous. The proposed bylaw is available from the RDKB website here:  http://www.rdkb.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=MrMOfARgfpw%3d&tabid=80

“Tonight’s objective is to provide the community with a voice in the animal control bylaws,” said Anita Krause of the Association.

The organizers were surprised by the turnout which evidently exceeded their expectations since they ran out of the printed materials they had brought for the attendees. These included copies of the RDKB’s proposed bylaw 1511, the KBPDA’s proposed pet dog bylaw and a form letter for the public to “get your concerns across and sound out on the issues that might be bothering you.”

Unfortunately the RDKB representative, Roly Russell, was not in attendance (snow bound half way across the continent) but his words and expression of concern were read out from an email he sent. (You can hear these 14 minutes 44 seconds into the video.)

Of obvious concern was the section of the bylaw dealing with euthanizing of dogs which have been taken into custody by animal control.  

The animal control officers were present to talk about this and it was clear from the emotional content of the comments they got from the public that this section of the bylaw had many upset. With some difficulty they pointed out that the wording of this section had not changed – this is the current applicable rules and that they personally had not put any dogs down and have no intention of inclination to do so.

Further to this they contrasted more severe rules from Castlegar and Kelowna with those in place (or intended) here in the area of pound fees and resolutions.

They faced many questions from the public about the rules and how they are applied such as: what constitutes a vicious dog, what can the animal control officers do and not do and many other topics. Generally the major part of this section of the meeting dealt with educating the public and correcting misconceptions. (To hear what they said and what the public concerns were start watching 18 minutes into the video.)

Some politicians were in attendance such as Grand Forks mayor Taylor, and a city councilor from Grand Forks and another from Greenwood.

The RDKB committee working on the bylaw meets next week to review input received from the public and finalize the wording of the document.

UPDATE: The Kootenay / Boundary Pet Dog Association’s proposed Bylaw is available in the attachment to this article.

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