Still branded 'dangerous'

It has now been seven years since my dog was cruelly confined for five months and designated as “dangerous” by RDCO’s dog control authority.

Despite my dog and I having received our “Canine Good Neighbour” certification under a rigorous Canadian Kennel Club certified training program, and despite there being no complaints for the past seven years, the regional district refuses to remove this designation, which costs me $500 annually.

My best efforts, at substantial cost, to establish “responsible dog ownership” were not acknowledged by the RDCO board nor its staff. It appears this shameful designation is lifelong, and there is absolutely nothing one can do, despite seven years good behaviour.

The previous bylaw removed the designation after five years good behaviour.

Effective 2017, the annual licence fee for a dog labelled “dangerous” rose from $20 to $500 without notice. 

In the seven years since my dog was released from the claws of dog control, I have never had a visit from one of these animal control specialists.

I undertook an in-depth review of dangerous dog licence fees in 40 B.C. jurisdictions, and sent same to RDCO and dog control staff. One jurisdiction charges $1,000, two other communities charge $500, 20 charge the regular dog licence fee, and the remaining 17 communities charge between $100 and $300 annually.

There is no ability in our bylaw to remove or repeal a dangerous dog designation, although the “SPCA Model Animal Responsibility Bylaw” aimed at creating safe and humane communities, does include such a provision.

I question the legality of a lifelong designation with no ability to repeal for good behaviour. Rife with complaints about fees, and driven by cash and cost recovery for past misdeeds, including sky rocketing legal fees, our RDCO Dog Control Bylaw is definitely out of control.

Karen Stiewe, Kelowna

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