Pitt Meadows councillors are pitching a new registry of all dangerous dogs in the province to the Union of B.C. Municipalities later this month.
As it stands, a dangerous or vicious designation place on a dog by any city or town does not follow the animal beyond the municipality’s border’s in any practical way. Dogs are typically deemed dangerous when they have killed or injured a person or animal.
“This is a way of tracking the owners and the dogs,” Coun. Janis Elkerton said of the registry.
“People have got to be responsible for their pets.”
The city has been contacted by the Licence Inspectors and Bylaw Officers Association, who are getting behind the registry.
Elkerton said a pit bull ban is not being pushed, despite similar bans in the U.K. and Ontario, and noted that the B.C. SPCA does not support breed-specific bans.
“People seem to get getting the message that it’s too difficult to enforce, and it’s not fair,” said Elkerton.
“They’re looking for something that is workable throughout the province. Why put bylaws in place if we can’t enforce them?”
Support from the UBCM is important, said Mayor John Becker, as a united voice of all the province’s cities and towns.
“It gives us a lot more credibility than if we simply send a letter to the province,” he said.
It also shows Victoria that any new legislation be broadly supported throughout B.C., he added.
He has been talking about the registry to his counterparts in other cities.
“We’ve been out there stumping for this thing for many months now.
“It’s something whose time has more than come.”
Pitt Meadows council began looking at the issue after a delegation in October 2015 led by John and Yvonne McDonald, whose Shih Tsu cross Buttons was killed by a bull mastiff at the Pitt Meadows McDonald’s restaurant. Supporters packed the chambers, bringing at least 12 dogs and a banner that read “Justice for Buttons.”
The UBCM resolution notes that local governments have no means of knowing whether a dog residing or visiting their community has been previously deemed dangerous. It asks the province to institute a requirement for all local government animal control agencies, municipal police and RCMP detachments to use the dangerous dog registry. If instituted, the requirement would remove a local government’s ability to make its own choices and force all local governments province wide to contribute to such a registry as part of their protection and enforcement regimes.
The 2016 UBCM convention will be held Sept. 26-30 at the Victoria Conference Centre.