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General News · 7th March 2024
Graham Blake
I want to encourage people to consider opposing Bylaw No. 522 - the Cortes Island Dog Control Service bylaw - and to file the elector response form with the district to register your opposition. If 97 electors file opposition to the the bylaw, they will be prevented from adopting the bylaw without voting and further discussion.

My concern with this bylaw is that it will do little to prevent conflict with dogs, but considerably increase conflict among people.

I recognize that we have had some bad incidents with dogs in the past year or so, and the people who have suffered as a result of uncontrolled dogs genuinely have my compassion. I just don't believe that yet another new tax to pay for a new enforcement regime is the best way to address our problems with dogs. We should be able to handle this better within the community through ongoing education. As it is, we need to continue to educate people about the risk that wolves pose to dogs that are not under the control of their owners and we can kindly encourage people to recognize that it also makes our neighbours and their animals safer when our dogs are under control. We shouldn't need dog cops and we shouldn't need to expose ourselves to a regulatory system that can be abused over petty issues, like when somebody is put out by anyone throwing a stick for their dog at the beach.

In the very least, this bylaw - and any proposed restrictions associated with this bylaw - should be the subject of further discussion. If we are to have an animal control bylaw it should be tailored in such a way that narrowly limits enforcement to the truly dangerous situations and not the petty ones. I see nothing that assures me that this will be the case and I can not support an animal control bylaw until I see that, and I certainly don't want to pay for one that can easily be abused. I fear it will do little to actually prevent dangerous dog situations from developing, but it will empower petty people to use this regime to threaten and harass others.

The catch here is that it is necessary for people to submit hard copies of the Elector Response Form to register their opposition to this bylaw. I feel confident that there are at least 100 of us who oppose this bylaw as it currently stands. The inconvenience of submitting a hard copy may prove a barrier to many submitting their opposition, allowing this bylaw to be adopted. I am willing to print out and deliver copies of the Elector Response Form to anyone who is interested in filling one out but does not have convenient access to a printer, email me and I will do what I can to help. I understand the Mansons Hall office (Office hours: Mon and Wed 10-2, Fri 10-4) will also have printed copies available. Forms must be received by SRD before 12:00 noon on April 15, 2024.

Thank you for your consideration.