The Cariboo Regional District will explore the possibility of implementing a dangerous dog bylaw to help bylaw officers deal with unsafe canines.
The issue of troublesome dogs has been on the CRD’s radar for some time, following a board motion last year instructing staff to explore an expanded and expedited animal control bylaw.
In a report to the Committee of the Whole last Thursday, staff noted it wouldn’t be feasible to have CRD bylaw officers take on the responsibility of animal control. Instead, staff recommended the CRD explore a dangerous dog bylaw “as an additional safety mechanism for residents and a means of recourse for bylaw enforcement to deal with dangerous dogs.”
Reaction among directors was mixed, with directors in more populated areas saying dangerous dogs and animal control were not a huge concern, while those in more rural areas said it was a big problem.
Red Bluff/Quesnel South director Mary Sjostrom said she would “feel remiss in not finding some way that we could support this.
“Let’s protect the people who pay the taxes,” she said, noting that she has received complaints of problem dogs that have attacked “everything that walks” in the Kersley area.
“I would have a really hard time living with myself if there was a problem and we didn’t address it.”
South Lakeside/Dog Creek director Angie Delainey suggested educating the public is a better route to take and suggested staff invite the RCMP to a rural caucus meeting to hear their concerns.
“It wouldn’t be a very good use of our taxpayers’ money if it’s not going to give us the output we want,” Delainey said. “Already we have staffing issues and issues with recruiting and retaining.”
However, Steve Forseth, director for Commodore Heights-McLeese Lake, said that while he realizes that animal control matters are on the “bottom of the list” for RCMP, it’s an issue that needs to be explored and is especially problematic in his area.
“It’s not a regional issue, but there are two or three electoral areas that are besieged with this issue,” Forseth said, noting he has had a handful of incidents of dog poisoning as retaliation in the Wildwood/Pine Valley area.
“I don’t know what we can do about it other than having this conversation today.”
108 Mile Ranch-Lac La Hache director Al Richmond said the CRD needs to be “proactive rather than reactive” when it comes to situations involving dangerous dogs.
“If you really have a dangerous dog, the RCMP will respond if you have a bylaw and a bylaw officer who needs support,” Richmond said. “It looks foolish if you don’t have the tools in the toolbox to use. We have to recognize also that some people will take matters into their own hands.”
Chief Administrative Officer John MacLean, who during the discussions warned directors against an animal control bylaw due to concerns about effective enforcement, said staff would look into the dangerous dog component, including what defines “dangerous” as opposed to “nuisance” dogs.
The board directed staff to continue discussions with other regional districts and the RCMP and to report back at a future board meeting.