RDOS proposes equal treatment for area canines

All dogs living in the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen may soon be equal.

Members of the Regional District’s Board of Directors will get a first look this morning at a proposed dog control bylaw that would amalgamate three current animal control bylaws into one and enforce it across all of the Regional District except for Area H.

Currently, three animal control bylaws are in effect in seven of the district’s eight electoral areas.

“The majority of complaints received relate to dogs at large, defecating in places that they shouldn’t, owners not picking up after their dogs, and concerns about dogs showing aggression,” writes Roza Alywin, the Regional District’s Animal Enforcement Coordinator in a report delivered to the Board’s Planning and Development Services Committee, the first stop for the proposed bylaw.

“Complainants are concerned about their safety and the safety of their family (including their dog) and have asked for stricter regulations and fines for owners of dogs they feel are “dangerous.”

The dog control bylaw would replace more-inclusive but inconsistent animal control bylaws in seven of the district’s eight electoral areas:

  • Bylaw 1838, enforced in Areas A, C, D, E and F regulating livestock, farm animals, birds, cats and domestic and wild sheep;
  • Bylaw 1991, enforced in Area B regulating livestock being kept on parcels less than 0.5ha in area;
  • Bylaw 1992, enforced in Area G, regulating livestock being kept on parcels less than 0.5 ha and regulating setbacks of 30m from property lines, watercourses or domestic wells if animals exceed 15 / hectare of land.

Adoption of a “dog only” bylaw would put the regional district in step with the City of Penticton, District of Summerland, Central Okanagan Regional District and North Okanagan Regional District. Each has adopted “dog only” bylaws.

Other animals, including cats, birds and livestock are generally dealt with “through communication, education and contact with the animals’ owner, whenever possible,” the report says.

“Cattle/horses at large have been reunited with their owners through branding identification or communication with ranchers in the respective areas.”

The bylaw is currently only at the “discussion” phase. From the Planning and Development Services committee it would go to the Regional Board’s Full Board for additional consideration.

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