Regional District of North Okanagan directors have unleashed a new dog control bylaw on some of its residents.
The new bylaw takes effect May 1 and applies to the City of Vernon, District of Coldstream, Village of Lumby, Electoral Area B (Swan Lake/Commonage), Electoral Area C (BX/Silver Star), and the portion of Electoral Area D (Rural Lumby) within the fire protection area.
The number of dogs and dog-related incidents has continued to increase, said the RDNO in a release, and the new bylaw includes many changes that make it consistent with other animal control bylaws in the dog control service area.
The bylaw was first introduced at the January 2021 board meeting. Following initial consideration of the bylaw, the RDNO sought feedback from stakeholders and the general public. Amendments to the bylaw were made based on this consultative process.
Some of the substantial changes from the previous dog control bylaw include:
• The fine for having an unlicensed dog will rise from $100 to $300. Dog licences remain unchanged at $20;
• The fine for excessive barking will rise from $100 to $200;
• Dogs must be licenced from the age of three months and older (previously was six months);
• An individual is limited to bringing four dogs to the park at one time. The limit helps ensure that a person is able to supervise and be in control of the dogs at all times;
• Resisting or interfering with the Animal Control Officer can result in a $1,000 fine, up from $500;
• The fine for a dog bite or attack that inflicts an injury to a person will rise from $200 to $500.
The bylaw also contains stronger provisions regarding aggressive and dangerous dogs. Some of which include:
• Dogs that have been officially deemed aggressive are not allowed in any off-leash dog park, sports field, playground, public beach, swimming area, park, trail or school ground at any times;
• Owners must post signs on their property warning of a dangerous dog. Failure to post signs will result in a $500 fine;
• While in public, aggressive dogs must be on a leash no longer than one metre and must wear a muzzle.
Aggressive and dangerous dogs are dogs that have been officially deemed by an Animal Control Officer, the RCMP, the BC SPCA, a veterinarian, or by the court following a thorough investigation of an incident.
Aggressive dogs are not breed-specific, and owners are notified of the designation and the responsibilities of keeping an aggressive dog.