Letter: Kelowna dog ownership only for the elites

"There was once a time when you did not have to be rich to afford a pet in this community."

To the editor:

Recent letters to the editor indicate that we are not the only pet owners troubled by the unfriendly bylaws enforcers empowered by our regional district.

There was once a time when you could call upon the pound for assistance in a free return of a licensed pet gone astray. There was once a time when you did not have to be rich to afford a pet in this community. No longer.

Now with license fees and impound fees, and escaped animal fees, and stray travel into forbidden area fees, and undiscovered poop fees, etc., dog owners pay and pay again.

As Mr.Cobden recently noted, it has become a “cash grab” for the district and a training ground for wanna-be swat team enforcers.

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Our personal experience; Our dog Oso Grande, precious family friend and lover of children, somehow escaped our fenced yard, wandered afar into traffic and was struck and injured. Missing dog notification was made to pound authorities resulted in a 24-hour locate. There appeared to be kind assistance of authorities in loading our beloved pet on board our family vehicle. Unfortunately, a costly veterinarian assessment determined the unrepairable nature of such shattering injury and the likelihood of life-long pain. Needless to say, ours was a heart wrenching decision for our family, particularly our grandchildren. It was a heart-wrenching experience; sudden loss that is still felt today.

Would that the pain ended there. About three days after having to put our beloved pet down, we were greeted via mail-box a special greeting from regional district enforcement authorities; a ticket for “dog at large-fail to leash,” fine of $200.

We unsuccessfully challenged the bylaw, only to be assessed an additional $25.

Am I the only one who has been wounded by such injustice in the face of common sense and the law?

The regulation is entitled “The Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw.” The enforcement reference and consideration of “responsible dog” behaviour appears to have misdirected focus from the proper issue “responsible dog ownership.” No question that a dog at large is irresponsible in running from home. Of greater question is whether an owner who takes care to confine pets in a properly fenced yard should be deemed an irresponsible owner for the unforeseen escape and subsequent behaviour of the pet??

If you have experienced similar issues with your pet(s), I welcome your comments, whether directly or via the editor.

Ian Royce Sisett

Kelowna

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