Directors believe dog bylaw too costly to pursue

JASON HEWLETT / Kamloops Daily News
December 8, 2012 01:00 AM

Regional directors predict a proposed dangerous dog bylaw could cost anywhere from $100,00 to a couple of million dollars, an amount that is causing more on the TNRD board to consider opting out.

John Sternig, director for Heffley Creek/Pinantan, who has support the idea since the beginning, said Saturday he will not continue to back the bylaw if the cost becomes too great.

"I support it as long as we're not throwing money at it," said Sternig.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District originally estimated the bylaw would cost $25,000 to contract out, but that amount is now expected to go up.

Sternig will continue to champion the bylaw if the cost doubles, but not if triples, he said.

After inquiring with RCMP, Sternig, said there's maybe two to three dangerous dog reports a year in the TNRD, and he can't justify paying in excess of $100,000 for the service if that's the case.

"I think that's ridiculous," he said.

Pritchard/Monte Creek director Ken Gillis, Wells Gray director Tim Pennell and Savona area director Ronaye Elliott already withdrew their support during a recent electoral director's meeting.

Gillis believes the cost would be upwards of $400,000. Pennell said the figure is likely $2 million for a full-fledged dog service. Either way, the directors believe it's too expensive to consider.

Pennell said the TNRD wants to proceed with a contractor, but hasn't been able to find one. He doubts any contractor would take on the task for $25,000.

"Look at the numbers. Would you be interested as a contractor?" he asked.

Elliott believes the money would be better spent on water and sewer systems. She said there's not enough complaints to justify the service.

"It's not financially practical," she said.

Recently elected back to the TNRD board, Lower North Thompson director Bill Kershaw has no intention of supporting the bylaw. He said it would be too expense to properly enforce.

"I don't see how it can be handled in such a large area," said Kershaw.

If done inhouse, the TNRD estimates it would cost $80,000 for an animal control officer's salary and $50,000 for a vehicle. A facility to house the dogs would need to be purchased, leased or built.

Chair Randy Murray said it's too early to tell how much the bylaw will cost. There will certainly be start-up costs and annual expenses to keep the service running.

The bylaw is expected to be back before regional directors in the new year.

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