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Burns Lake dog laws being broken, not dangerously

New bylaw officer studied dangerous dog claims, not worried
At any given time of the day in Burns Lake, it has been claimed, a wandering dog can be found. The new Village bylaw officer says it’s not presently a dangerous problem. (Facebook photo/Lakes District News)

There are some stray dogs. There is no stray dog crisis.

That was the assessment of Burns Lake’s new bylaw enforcement officer. One of the first directives Ken Chalmers was given, upon his appointment to the new position, was to investigate reports of problem pooches. After six weeks of consideration and investigation, he went before mayor and council to report his findings.

He has attended to calls, and made judgement decisions, but discovered that “my findings, after a six-week study, are that yes, we have animals roaming but I don’t think we have a chronic or severe issue.”

He was aware of six telephone calls or counter calls regarding animals at large, and said he also monitored the situation on Facebook and found “eight reports of wandering dogs, three lost cats, and possibly a horse at large,” he said. “Also in the past month, bylaw has picked up the same dog twice and housed one dog for the RCMP, at their request, because of a homeless person who was hospitalized.”

One of the most common concerns expressed by the public, said Chalmers, was worry over dogs at large being struck by vehicles. No incidents of injury or death have been reported. No close calls were reported, either.

“What I found was, most dogs return or are picked up by their owners at the end of each day. They go to work, leave the dogs outside, the dogs go for a wander,” he said. “There does not seem to be a large-scale population of dogs out roaming the town at night. Most are doing their roaming during the day.”

No packs have been reported, nor any particular dangers due to dogs showing public aggression.

“I continue to prioritize actioning calls with regard to animals at large if it is a public safety issue in that animals are near schools, hospitals, shopping malls, places of worship. I will attend to those quickly,” said Chalmers. “If they are just a nuisance…then I just let it go and I don’t consider it a significant issue, not a danger.”

The bylaw enforcement officer has the authority to take action on any dog that is unlicensed and at large. Anyone who leaves their dogs unattended on their own property, and that dog leaves the property, is committing a bylaw offence, according to Section 6-Animal Control of Bylaw 1044.

Dogs must be licensed as of four months of age, and must be on a leash in any public place.

Under Section 7(g) of the bylaw, “If the Animal Control Officer believes that a dog is a dangerous dog, (they) may apply to the provincial court…for an order that the dog be destroyed.”

Under Section 11 of the bylaw, it reiterates that the authorities can take steps on any dog that is unlicensed and/or unleashed in a public place, and/or deemed to be dangerous and/or found to be off the owner’s property.

There are also stated rules for impounding dogs and, if deemed to be appropriate, the use of capture tools.

Frank Peebles

About the Author: Frank Peebles

I started my career with Black Press Media fresh out of BCIT in 1994, as part of the startup of the Prince George Free Press, then editor of the Lakes District News.
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