Owners protest breed-specific bylaw in Maple Ridge

District pawing over proposal to charge four times the licence fee for pit bulls and require muzzles too

More than 50 pit bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans, Dachshunds and even Shih Tzus took to the streets of downtown Maple Ridge with their owners Sunday afternoon to protest a proposed bylaw that would single out certain breeds as aggressive.

Two months ago, District of Maple Ridge staff recommended a bylaw that would single out pit bull breeds, such as Staffordshire terriers and American pit bull terriers, as “aggressive” and charge their owners a $200 licensing fee annually, four times that of other breeds. Pit bulls would also be required to be muzzled when off the owner’s property and would also be subject to higher impound fees.

Local pit bull owner Janessa Munz helped organize the event on Sunday to protest the bylaw, which she feels is unfair to responsible dog owners, and to help improve the public image of the pit bull.

Munz said she understands why some people might be fearful of larger breeds like pit bulls, that large dogs in the hands of a bad owner can be dangerous. But that’s not the fault of the breed, she contends, and breed-specific bylaws do nothing to address the real problem: irresponsible owners.

“Most dog owners are responsible,” she added. “We train our dogs properly, we socialize them, and we nurture them. We feel we shouldn’t be treated the same as irresponsible owners.”

More than 50 dogs took part in the dog-walk around downtown Maple Ridge, without incident.

“We want to be ambassadors for the breed,” Munz said. “All the dogs were well-behaved and got along great. There were no issues and no problems.”

In addition to pit bulls, the owners of other dog breeds came out to lend their support for the oft-maligned breed, and show their opposition to breed-specific bylaws like the one being proposed by District of Maple Ridge staff.

Munz said she surprised at how positive the reaction was from the public.

“We had people honking in support, people were coming out of their businesses to greet us and shake our hands,” she said.

Bylaws director Liz Holitzki said singling out pit bulls is designed to encourage responsible pet ownership. While both the district and SPCA receive complaints about problem dogs of all breeds, there is significant public concern about pit bulls, in particular.

Parents of two B.C. children who were viciously attacked by pit bills in August have asked the province to ban the breed.

However, Holitzki told councillors in July she felt an outright ban was unnecessary.

The bylaw comes back before Maple Ridge council for discussion at a workshop meeting on Oct. 15, and Munz hopes councillors will have a change of heart and steer clear of any breed-specific language.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A small memorial to Rich Goulet was started at Pitt Meadows Secondary after his recent death. (Neil Corbett/The News)
LETTER: Rename Pitt Meadows school gym in coach’s honour

Rich Goulet was considered one of the provinces best basketball coaches and died recently

Doug Nolin, a Maple Ridge senior, snapped this picture of his pet pigeons taking flight down by the old Albion ferry dock. “What a beautiful land we live in,” he said. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Chirp, chirp: Ridge senior captures pigeons taking flight

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Pamela Franklin captured this picture of a raccoon in Maple Ridge, “chilling” in her backyard, on her storage bin. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Lounging in the spring sun

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Debbie Noseworthy snapped a sunset picture the first day of daylight savings as seen from the dikes off 216th Street in Maple Ridge. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Sky on fire over Maple Ridge dikes

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Darlene Martin captured this ‘breathtaking’ view of a sunset and the Fraser River as taken from Osprey Village. (Special to The News)
SHARE: View from Osprey Village breathtaking

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Most Read