The new Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw has been adopted by the Regional District Board (RDB).
This comes after almost a year of reviews of other bylaws in communities across the country and the RDB says it was completed with community input.
It outlines the regulations that dog owners are expected to follow in the Central Okanagan and its member municipalities.
The controversial new bylaw was adopted at Monday's Regional Board meeting.
Among the bylaw changes:
- Licensed dog owners will receive a one-time ‘free’ ticket home without penalty from Dog Control in the event their dog is found at large and reported to the Regional Dog Pound
- A leash must be two meters or less in length in order to control a dog in public areas
- Dogs must not be tethered for longer than four hours a day
- If they are inside a stationary vehicle or enclosure they must be protected from direct sunlight and provided with adequate ventilation
- Owners of dogs newly deemed dangerous will be required to post signs advising a dangerous dog is on the property
- Dog owners that let their dog run at large, off leash in an area not designated for off-leash activity or choose not to pick up after their pet face higher fines
“Our goal with the bylaw, as the name says, is to encourage, support and reward responsible dog ownership in the Central Okanagan," says communications officer, Bruce Smith.
"We believe that most dog owners are good neighbours and practice the four principles of responsible dog ownership. They license their dog each year because it’s the law. They spay or neuter their pet and understand they must care and control their dog at all times and leash their dog when it’s off their property. In addition, they pick up after their dog both on and off their property. Finally, they don’t allow their dog to become a threat or nuisance to their neighbours or other citizens in the community.”
Smith adds owners that have a responsible attitude should not have any problem with the bylaw.
“The Regional Board has directed that those choosing not to do these things should be held accountable through the bylaw, by other dog owners and citizens across the Central Okanagan.”
The Regional Board has maintained the two dog limit that was in the previous bylaw. It has asked for more information in order to consider an amendment that would raise the maximum number of dogs allowed to three.
“With more dog owners choosing responsible behaviour, we look forward to a safer, more dog welcoming community and a continuing reduction in the number of unfortunate and in many cases preventable incidents," says Smith.
The bylaw recognizes the goals and objectives of the Regional Dog Service Review that was adopted by the Regional Board in the fall of 2012.
Click here for Information about the new bylaw, responsible dog ownership, licensing and the ‘My Dog Matters’ rewards program for licensed dog owners.
Check out Castanet's letters to the editor for community feedback to the laws.