EDITORIAL – Enforce the two-dog rule or toss it out and try something else

Three-dog owner argues case to City council.

An Armchair Mayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THERE’S AN OLD saying that ignorance of the law is no excuse.

When it comes to owning too many dogs in Kamloops, though, it’s good enough.

City council had yet another dog owner in front of it on Tuesday, and yet again it let the owner off the hook for having three dogs instead of the two allowed in the dog bylaw.

The owner explained that he wasn’t aware of the limit. Besides which, one of the dogs, poor old Dusty the Shih-poo, is having seizures and isn’t going to last long.

And the clincher: “We’re just trying to keep our family together,” he said. “Because they are our family.”

It’s often said — another old saying — that good fences make for good neighbors, but not in this case. An irate next-door neighbor who says the dogs make too much noise didn’t think the fence between the two yards was tall enough so she built another one (a six-footer) a few inches away from the one that was already there.

Dogs are a leading cause of neighbourhood disputes. Limiting the number of dogs per household is one way of keeping peace and quiet. As Coun. Pat Wallace pointed out, rules are rules and old dogs have a habit of living longer than they’re supposed to.

Nevertheless, perhaps swayed by the fact that several other neighbours don’t mind the dogs, or that the three dogs would eventually be reduced to two dogs through natural causes, council sided with the dog owner 5-2.

After all, how do you tell someone to get rid of a member of the family, because dogs are, indeed, members of the family.

But if council is going to keep letting people with small noisy dogs break the rules, maybe it should throw out the two-dog limit and put a poundage clause into effect — instead of limiting the number of dogs, legislate a maximum of, say, 40 or 50 pounds of dog per household.

That would make at least as much sense as what’s going on now.

About Mel Rothenburger (5864 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

6 Comments on EDITORIAL – Enforce the two-dog rule or toss it out and try something else

  1. “40 or 50 pounds of dog per household” … no, that would mean 4 or 5 small yappy dogs, and ya, someone would actually do that.

  2. “Yet another dog owner”, how often does this happen…several times a week, once or twice a year more likely, if that. GOod for Council. What member of the family would you have them hive off, AND, apparently according to you large dogs don’t bark.

  3. If all three dogs were licensed, then the computer system at Bylaws would have likely flagged the situation and the owner would have been notified.
    It happened to us when one of our two dogs was put to sleep and we got a new dog about a month or two later. We bought a new dog tag for him and within 3 days, we had an absolutely horrible letter from bylaws about having too many dogs.
    I phoned and asked the girl if we needed to bring in our old dog’s ashes to prove the fact we only had two dogs. A simple phone call (polite) from bylaws would have ended the questions right away.
    Often, one dog is plenty but two dogs allows for companionship for an animal that is alone sometimes.

  4. I was told council time was for “the big picture”…I thought Bylaws had a well-defined reason to be…but it is all so unclear…
    Is there already a tall fence between reason and council?
    Hopefully the trip to Ottawa will help to reset righteousness!

  5. Cindy Ross Friedman // June 15, 2017 at 5:12 AM // Reply

    I absolutely agree that this by-law needs some serious reconsideration (I personally think it should go). The City of Calgary has a lauded system for responsible pet ownership:

    • Responsible dog ownership is not easily found. I live in a middle class street near Kenna’s park where at least 50% (perhaps a bit more) of households have a dog or two, plus their visiting friends bring extra on multiple occasions.
      Therefore I get a good daily chance at observing the fallacies of “responsible dog ownership.”
      A strong bylaw and serious enforcement is what makes for “responsible dog ownership” anything else is a waste of time and money.

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