Opinion

Editorial: Hot dog bylaw needs teeth

He’s your best friend and he’s miserable without you.  Besides, you’ll only be a few minutes.

If life were that predictable, there might almost — almost — be an argument for bringing Fido along on a quick run to the shops on a warm July afternoon.

If you knew for an absolute fact that you’d be away from your vehicle less than five minutes while you grabbed a bag of ice or maybe a six pack to help take the edge off  a sweltering summer’s day, then maybe — just maybe — it would make sense to let Max hang out in the car and wait.

But as most of us have hopefully figured out by the time we’re old enough to clutch a driver’s licence in our hot little hand, life rarely follows such a reliable schedule.

And the number of things that can trip you up on a quick trip to the store, is far greater than the number of excuses even the most talented rationalizer could come up with for leaving a dog in a car on a hot (or moderately warm) day.

You can’t predict whether you’ll end up in a long line at the cash register, behind a dozen other people who also decided a cold beer would really hit the spot.

Maybe you’ll have a bit of trouble tracking down whatever it was you came looking for, or  you’ll get a cashier who’s still in training.

Meanwhile, back in the car, the temperature is climbing fast. And there’s nothing your little friend in the fur suit can do but sit and stew.

And yet, for some reason, it just keeps on happening.

Seldom does a week go by that another story doesn’t surface about passersby, somewhere in B.C., breaking a window to pull an overheated pooch from a hot car.

While such parking lot vigilantism is no doubt done with the best of intentions, it has the potential to lead to some pretty ugly conflict.

Happily, it looks as though a more proactive solution might be on the horizon in Langley Township.

The high-profile case of six dogs that perished in the back of a dog walker’s truck last May, appears to have been the catalyst needed for council to entertain the notion of a ‘hot dog’ bylaw, which would have the municipality follow the lead set by the cities of Langley and Surrey.

The City’s bylaw carries a $100 fine. In our opinion, that’s too low. Surrey’s fine, by comparison, at $500, offers five times the deterrent.

If the Township expects its bylaw to have any teeth, the figure needs to be high enough to get pet owners’ attention.

Like most anything designed to get people to think before they act, the key to compliance is in the threat of a painful bite out of their wallet.

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