Bylaws enforcement gone to the dogs

City council tackles the problem of bylaw enforcement in Rossland.

Chelsea Novak

Rossland News

A fierce debate has been taking place on Bhubble since mid-June as Rosslander’s argue over what to do about “the dog problem,” which some don’t see as a problem at all.

The debate started with a post from Mayor Kathy Moore asking Rosslander’s to keep their dogs on a leash and clean up after them. The post ends with Moore promising that city council will consider “some additional action on bylaw enforcement.” And that’s exactly what happened at last Monday’s city council meeting.

Council made a number of recommendations asking staff to report back on possible solutions for improving and enforcing bylaws, with a lot of the focus on dogs.

Staff was asked to report back on the possibility of an app, including one currently in development at Selkirk College, that would allow residents to snap geotagged photos of problem dogs and easily submit them to City Hall.

Councillor Aaron Cosbey also suggested exploring the idea of segregating trails.

“Those trails that are heavily used, at easy grade — like Centennial, like KC, for example — you could designate as on-leash only, and other trails could be off-leash,” explained Cosbey.

A member of the public, Kim LaFond, raised concerns about allowing dogs on Columbia St. He shared the story of his mother-in-law, who was rushed by a large dog while coming out of the post office. She hit her head on the pavement and had to be taken to hospital. Following the accident, she was no longer able to live independently, and died a year and a half later, despite being perfectly healthy before the accident.

That was before dogs were even allowed on Columbia, and LaFond and his wife Joan are concerned that dogs now roam the street off-leash.

“It’s getting a little bit out of hand with the dogs on main street,” said LaFond.

Councillor Lloyd McLellan doesn’t think it’s a problem to have dogs on Columbia, so long as they remain under their owners’ control. To that end, council asked staff to report back on the possibility of introducing designated tie-up areas for dogs in the downtown area.

In response to concerns raised on Bhubble about cats killing birds and disturbing neighbour’s gardens, council asked staff to report back on what other jurisdictions are doing about cats.

Of course none of these new initiatives can be expected to accomplish anything without someone to enforce the bylaws. The city does have one bylaw officer, but she only works during office hours, and responds on a complaint basis.

Council asked staff to look into the cost, options, and availability of bylaw enforcement. Possibilities discussed in council included hiring a contract employee, or engaging bylaw commissionaires.