SRD getting closer to dog control on Quadra

The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) is a step closer to creating a regulatory tool to deal with dogs on Quadra Island, something it has been working towards since last May.

At the March 24 SRD board meeting, staff brought forward a bylaw to establish a dog control service for Quadra Island, a move that is necessary before any kind of regulatory bylaw can be established.

“Last year, [Quadra Island director Jim Abram] came to staff requesting a dog control bylaw be investigated and the services to administer that,” CAO Dave Leitch told the board. “In working with the director, staff have come up with some availability of costs, some animal control services, in co-ordination with the RCMP and the City of Campbell River, some possibilities that we feel at this point a dog control bylaw is possible at this point.”

Quadra Island director Jim Abram thanked staff members who have been working on this.

“It’s been very trying and contentious but we’ve finally gotten here to the point where we are going to decide whether we’re going to establish a service,” he said.

The board received three options for bylaw enforcement and dog handling, but settled on pursuing the least expensive option, which would see a combination of various service providers and in-house resources manage the services for the island.

According to the staff report outlining the possible options, this would be a basic service where Coastal Animal Services would attend emergency situations only during business hours subject to their availability. There would be no patrols and they would not be on-call to attend after hours or on weekends. This option would rely on other authorised officers (RCMP and/or the SRD bylaw officer) to conduct non-emergency enforcement and emergency enforcement after hours and on weekends. The SRD would need to enter into arrangements with the City of Campbell River for use of the city’s pound facility and associated services. This option also requires an allowance for SRD administration.

Abram moved that staff prepare a draft bylaw to establish a dog control service on Quadra Island for the board’s consideration using this option with ammended cost figures – he told the board he received word just that morning from the RCMP that they would take the role of delivering municipal ticket information slips to residents of the island, which he says would mean the SRD would not have to provide a regional district bylaw officer cost-share, and therefore SRD administration costs would be lower. As well, Abram said, the numbers could be different for the Coast Animal Services retainer.

Campbell River director Andy Adams was the only one who voted against Abram’s motion. He said that while he appreciates the last-minute update, he cannot support moving forward with an option until there is written confirmation from the RCMP and a report back from staff with any changes to the SRD costs.

Leitch told the board that the costs in the current report are just estimates and moving forward, staff intends to confirm those costs and confirm the services provided by the RCMP and bring more concrete information back to the board.

In his report to the board, Leitch explained that at its meeting on June 10, 2015, the board received a report with letters from the Quadra Island RCMP asking that the SRD assess the feasibility of implementing a dog control bylaw on the island.

“Since June 2015, the Electoral Area Services Committee has considered a number of reports on this matter,” wrote Leitch. “The committee has indicated a preference for a dog control service to address dangerous dogs, noisy dogs and dogs at large. Mandatory licensing was not supported by the committee.”

Leitch says the SRD currently has no authority to control dogs on Quadra Island and if the SRD wants to provide a dog control service, it must first adopt a service establishing a bylaw, which would describe the service and the method of cost recovery.

In his report, Leitch said that in June 2015, the Quadra Island RCMP reported they had received numerous dog-related complaints, but the RCMP does not maintain a budget –nor do the current regulations provide limited legal authority – to deal with these issues.

In May 2015, Quadra Island RCMP Detachment Commander Cpl. Kevin Christensen wrote to the SRD expressing support for the creation of a dog bylaw on Quadra Island.

“A dog bylaw would give the RCMP an extra tool when investigating dog complaints,” he wrote. “A dog bylaw would not cause problems for responsible dog owners but it would ensure irresponsible owners are held accountable for their animal’s behaviour.”