The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) will be proceeding with plans to expand dog control services for Electoral Area D (Falkland, Ranchero, Silver Creek, Deep Creek, Salmon Valley, Gardom Lake) without a requirement for dog licensing.
The board approved a motion by a margin of 9-2 directing staff to bring bylaws forward to the June 17 regular meeting to extend full-service dog control for the entire Electoral Area D boundary. No dog licensing provisions will be included in the expansion of the service.
Currently, full dog control services in Electoral Area D operate in a limited area of Ranchero only. Full dog control includes provisions for dealing with aggressive dogs, as well as complaints with excessive barking or roaming dogs.
Electoral Area D director Rene Talbot of Falkland started the process for the CSRD to expand the service based on dog-related complaints he was receiving from residents.
A public survey was conducted in January and February to help determine what type of service would best suit residents of Electoral Area D. Survey results were mixed, with stronger support for the initiative in Falkland, but residents of Silver Creek more opposed to the service expansion.
“I know this isn’t going to be popular with everyone,” said Talbot, who told more than 200 people at a public meeting on the topic in July 2012, most opposed to any dog control in the area, that it was the “end of the story.”
“But for me, public safety is the main thing… I can’t ignore this. I would feel absolutely terrible if we did nothing and a child, or even an adult, was seriously injured by a dog.”
Directors Rhona Martin (Electoral Area E Sicamous, Swansea Point, Malakwa) and David Brooks-Hill from Area B Revelstoke rural opposed the motion.
“I think it should not be up to people who don’t own dogs to pay the full cost of dog control,” said Martin. “If you have a dog, you should be buying a license and that pays for some of the staff time or contract person that is dealing with the issue.”
A presentation was made by Falkland resident Kevin Mitchell prior to the board discussion. He presented a 600-plus signature petition opposing dog control in Area D, and requested the board defer the matter until public hearings could again be held in the most populated centres of Area D not covered by the current bylaw – Falkland and Silver Creek.
“And then once again, the public and all its citizens, biased survey or not, are provided the right to share all of their concerns,” said Mitchell.
Due to directors’ concerns regarding the need for agricultural property owners to use barking dogs to deter predators from livestock, CSRD staff will be considering possible exemptions for those circumstances when drafting the proposed bylaws.
If the board votes to approve three readings of the bylaws in June, they would be sent to the Inspector of Municipalities for approval before the bylaws could come into effect for the target dog control start date of Jan. 1, 2022.
The taxation cost to Electoral Area D residents for the expanded dog control service is estimated at $24.37 per year for the average residential property assessment of $354,905.
Board chairperson Kevin Flynn from the City of Salmon Arm said the survey results show citizens were willing to pay a certain amount of money for dog control through taxation though he wanted to see licensing added to the bylaw.
“I think when we’re doing the right thing to protect the public, a small tax increase is OK,” said Flynn, a dog owner whose pet is licensed. “As long as we do a good job with dog control and it’s a responsible use of tax dollars, this first step makes sense.”
Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.