Vicious dogs know no geographic boundaries, but the recourse available to someone that has been attacked differs vastly.
In Kamloops, for instance, it’s a matter of calling the bylaws department, which can issue fines and set conditions of ownership like keeping a dangerous dog muzzled in public, having it licensed and microchipped, and constructing a kennel.
There have been several dangerous dog incidents of late, including a story of a dog attacked by two other dogs while being walked by its owner, and an elderly woman chewed up by a Rottweiler that had already bitten a postal carrier.
There is nothing to help rural residents who are terrorized by dangerous dogs, however.
And we don’t think “terrorized” is too strong a word. A Westwold resident told the paper in the spring that she had erected a fence to create a safe environment for her family and pets yet still had to make the choice whether to save her dog or child when two huge animals came at them. That “choice” cost her $1,700 in vet bills.
As there is nothing rural residents can do about dangerous dogs, the TNRD has been hammering away on a bylaw but had a setback last week. RCMP dashed hopes that police might enforce a rural animal control bylaw, saying they were not trained to capture or house animals, so it’s back to the drawing board.
Hopes were police involvement would translate into reduced costs for the service, as hiring a bylaw officer to deal with such issues and finding somewhere to house such animals will cost more money.
There are models in other rural places that the TNRD can consider; a dog bylaw exists in the Regional District of Central Okanagan, for instance. Dangerous dog owners there must pay hefty fines if their dogs are impounded — $500 for the first time, $2,000 for the second and it goes up by another $1,000 for each incident. Perhaps higher impoundment fees are something for the TNRD to consider.
The area directors know it’s a problem, time has been invested in trying to find a workable solution and we are confident it’s not a matter of if, but when, one will be found and rural residents can feel safer.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.