After a presentation at a recent city council meeting, the Kootenay Boundary Pet Dog Association is hoping the city and Regional District of Kootenay Boundary will begin the process of creating dog-friendly bylaws.
Anita Krause, member of the pet dog association and spokesperson, explained the group is aiming to promote humane treatment for dogs in the community.
“When the dog association first formed, we created our mandate to remember that we have to look at the dog’s needs,” she said. “That means well-housed, well-fed, the enclosure is proper and they’re well exercised; when those are taken care of, then they don’t have needs and aren’t problem dogs.”
The Kootenay Boundary Pet Dog Association hopes that a bylaw will be created to unify the community with some set standards that everyone can follow. Krause told The Gazette that means the bylaw would have to be progressive, effective and meet everybody’s needs.
“There really isn’t much in (Grand Forks and RDKB current bylaws) and the point of that is that it has caused some problems for the city and the district,” she said. “Our proposal was to look at everyone’s needs, from pets to pet owners to the community. There are some people who aren’t dog lovers and they also have rights.”
Most importantly; however, was that the dog association hopes to be regarded as assets to the community and not adversary, Krause noted.
“We’ve just made recommendations and we’ll see what they come up with,” she added. “We’re very hopeful that it’s the beginning of a dialogue. We were very well received at the meeting because we did consider everybody’s needs.”
Mayor Brian Taylor noted the city has room for improvement in giving residents clear messages around their dogs.
“I really think it’s time we reviewed our dog bylaw and take a look at how we can be more dog friendly,” he said.
On a recent trip to Whistler, B.C., Taylor experienced a place where dogs were let into restaurants and taxis, and were very much integrated into the whole community.
“I’m not suggesting we go quite that far, but clearly there are things that we can do with the growing popularity of seniors with pets,” he said. “I think it’s an important part of making this community liveable.”
As with other municipalities and closed dog parks, Taylor also pointed out dogs do need off-leash time but owners should have control over their dogs.
“We have to allow dogs off their leash when they are controlled and we need to offer places where they can do that,” he concluded.
Krause added the association understands this will take time.
“We’re not in a rush and good laws aren’t established off the hip,” she concluded.