New guidelines for dog complaints in Burns Lake

Village council adopts dog control policy

Dog Control Policy ES4 provides guidelines for municipal staff and the RCMP when dealing with dog complaints, dangerous dogs and dogs at large in Burns Lake. (Black Press file photo)

Village council has recently adopted a dog control policy, the first of its kind in Burns Lake.

The policy follows a number of issues that have arisen over the past three months in regards to the seizure of dogs in the community, according to a village staff report.

Dogs that are seized or impounded improperly can cost the municipality over $600 per animal or result in legal action against the village, states the report.

Dog Control Policy ES4 provides guidelines for municipal staff and the RCMP when dealing with dog complaints, dangerous dogs and dogs at large.

Valerie Ingram and Alistair Schroff, co-founders of the Lakes Animal Friendship Society, praised the new policy.

“This is positive because in towns like Burns Lake there are several agencies that may be involved in dog issues — the village, RCMP and the BC SPCA,” said Schroff, adding the new policy helps define responsibilities and improve communication between them.

“We are strong advocates for communication between groups, so everyone can do their part to keep our dogs, their families and the community happy, healthy and safe.”

Strengthening monitoring and enforcement are also important to deal with situations where guardians are not being responsible, Schroff added.

RELATED: B.C.-wide registry of dangerous dogs urged

Highlights of the policy

– The village’s bylaw enforcement officer will not respond to complaints of dogs wandering at large unless: the dog is creating a nuisance, it has been captured by the complainant and requires transport to the pound, or it poses an imminent risk to the public;

– When it comes to dangerous dogs, the RCMP or the village’s bylaw enforcement officer will conduct an investigation to determine if there is a need for the animal to be seized. The owner of the dog will be notified in person or by registered mail of the intention to declare the animal a dangerous dog;

– If there is a requirement for immediate seizure, the RCMP and the bylaw enforcement officer will jointly attend the residence and apprehend the dog. The owner of the dog will be given 48 hours to dispute the seizure;

– Outside of regular business hours, dogs wandering at large will only be picked up by the RCMP in extraordinary cases;

– All dogs placed in the pound become the responsibility of the Village of Burns Lake;

– Dogs outside the boundaries of Burns Lake, Lake Babine Nation and the Burns Lake Band will only be picked up under extraordinary circumstances.

RELATED: Woman devastated after small dog killed in fenced backyard of B.C. home

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