Amendments to White Rock’s dog-control and ticketing rules received a preliminary thumbs-up at city hall Monday.
But those who’ve been pushing the city to provide more services for resident dogs and their owners say the revised legislation actually makes the current situation worse.
It eliminates the areas that the original bylaw allowed dogs to be, and bumps fines – for example, to $150 for an unlicensed dog – while giving nothing in return, said Michael Armstrong, founder of DogWhiteRock.
“Seems adding fines is more important than adding dog services for the 3,000-plus dog owners in town that do not want to pay the licence fee because there are no dog parks,” Armstrong writes in an email to Peace Arch News. “Four months after our delegation and nothing has changed but less services and more fines.”
Armstrong put the sentiments to councillors during question period Monday. He also asked how the city would enforce rules with tourists.
Deputy Mayor Al Campbell assured that the search for a dog park has not been abandoned.
“We’re out there sourcing out two or three areas, that I can tell you right now,” he said.
While council later voted to give the Animal Control and Licensing and Ticketing for Bylaw Offenses Amendment bylaws first, second and third reading, the vote did not go ahead without protest.
Coun. Helen Fathers, describing some of the proposed changes as “pretty harsh,” asked for the discussion to be put on hold until the return of Mayor Wayne Baldwin, who is vacationing in Europe. The suggestion was rejected.
Fathers then raised concerns that cats were still included in the bylaw, and echoed Armstrong’s question regarding tourists.
The city’s director of planning and development services, Paul Stanton, said the cat references were supposed to have been removed, and suggested the oversight be dealt with through a “friendly amendment.”
Regarding tourists, Stanton told council past practice has typically been that anyone deemed to be violating the bylaw receive a warning on their first offence.
A staff report recommends dogs only be permitted on the beach in an area west of Bay Street; and that dogs not be allowed on any portion of the pier, promenade or grassy areas adjacent to the promenade.
Escalating fines for dogs running at large, significant fines for animal cruelty and an increase in number of dogs allowed per household, from two to three, are among proposed changes; as are rules against owning exotic animals such as elephants and hyenas.