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Animal control officers cancel contract with RDKB

Shara JJ Cooper
By Shara JJ Cooper
June 4th, 2013

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) is looking for a new way to handle animal complaints after the Boundary Animal Control cancelled their contract with the regional district.

“They just indicated they were uncomfortable with the circumstances,” said RDKB chief administrative officer (CAO) John MacLean.

This news follows conflict that arose earlier this year after a draft of the existing animal control bylaw (1511) was put before the RDKB for renewal. New clauses were added, but original, existing clauses were also brought to the light.

“It was controversial,” said MacLean, of the reaction to the bylaw.

One of the hot topics was a new fine for barking dogs. Pet owners also raised concerns over issues like the definition of an aggressive dog and the ability for animal control officers to have unclaimed animals euthanized.

The hot topic generated a lot of discussion through social media sites like Facebook, and the RDKB sought feedback from the public.

“We got lots and lots of comments,” said MacLean, adding that stakeholders are reviewing all the public input before they make a decision.

The RDKB is currently handling complaints “as best we can,” said MacLean, until a permanent animal control solution is found. 

Before they make a decision about a new animal control officer, they need to solidify the bylaw — which is expected to happen in the next month or two.

Once the bylaw is passed, the RDKB is also going to meet with stakeholders like Grand Forks and Greenwood to decide if they are going to hire a new contractor, or have an animal control officer on staff at the RDKB.

Richard Smith, the outgoing animal control officer, chose not to comment about the situation. However, a comment on the Boundary Animal Control’s Facebook page stated that the job was challenging and that they didn’t get enough support from organizations like the RCMP, SPCA and RDKB.

“We were in the middle of a battle that was not ours to fix. Now they have no one to be the eyes and ears of our furry friends,” it read.

Until a new animal control officer is in place, the public is encouraged to call 1-800-355-7352 for animal-related issues. 

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