Rural directors reject dog bylaw

CAM FORTEMS / Kamloops Daily News
March 22, 2011 01:00 AM

Citing costs, rural regional directors have turned down development of an animal control department.

Ten rural directors met this month to review a report from Thompson-Nicola Regional District on animal control measures in operation at B.C. regional districts.

The report was commissioned after residents in several rural areas complained to electoral directors about barking and dangerous dogs. The regional district has no animal control so rural residents have few places to turn for complaints about barking or dogs on the loose.

"It's got a 10-year history," Walhachin-area director Barry Tait said of debate on dog control. "It's defeated every time. It's just too expensive to get it in. Everyone would scream about the cost."

Comox Valley Regional District spends about $150,000 a year on animal control while Kootenay Boundary spends $200,000.

A service would include need for an animal impoundment area as well as vehicles and staff.

Kamloops has an animal control office, as do some small municipalities, including Cache Creek, Logan Lake and Merritt.

Lower Nicola-area director Randy Murray restarted the debate last year when he complained to the board about a resident in his area being kept up by barking dogs from a neighbouring animal rescue operation, called Angels Animal rescue.

"The majority of the electoral area directors regard it as too cost-prohibitive," Murray said. "When I look at 35 years of regional district history it always comes up squarely against cost."

Murray said the complaint against the animal rescue operation, which is located on an acreage and conforms to zoning, has apparently been worked out. But he continues to be concerned about dangerous dogs on the loose in rural areas.

The Lower Nicola director was absent from the meeting where the report was discussed. He would like to push the SPCA and province to come up with solutions.

Tait said he rarely hears about problems, adding most residents are able to solve problems themselves.

"You get the odd barking dog. You call (owners) at 3 a.m. and bark."

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