February 19, 2013 - 11:07 AM
By Jennifer Stahn
As council prepares to look at another variance request at a council meeting today (Tuesday, Feb. 19) some may be asking why there appears to be a barrage of requests coming through, and why these dog variances have become such a big deal.
According to Mayor Peter Milobar they are not a big deal. He says council was expecting to see a heavier load of applications after changing the policy a year and a half ago. The change saw dog owners go from simply asking for a variance to allow a third dog to now having to license all three dogs and pay a fee to bring the request before council, which allows for neighbours input before the application can be approved or denied.
Milobar said before the policy change a third dog couldn't be licenced and as a result most people didn't even try, leaving council to only hear the cases where neighbours complained. So “council did deal with these (dog variances) in the past,” he said, “but they were less frequent.”
Milobar said Monday he thinks “we're near the end of it...we don't anticipate it to continue at this pace.” When asked if he's sick of seeing this issue come before council, the mayor said no, that it is just part of the process which was to include making “neighbours more informed, and they are.”
Coun. Donovan Cavers questioned the limit at a January meeting, asking whether the two dog limit was too stringent. While there was some discussion about the policy and the seemingly high numbers - as of Jan. 22, 20 of the 21 variances seen by council had been approved - council does not have plans to change the policy again Milobar said, nor does he see the recent applications as a problem. He also noted the recent changes were aimed at “capturing permanent dog situations” and council would deal with any temporary situations – such as short term fostering or helping to take care of family dogs – on a complaint basis.
In Kamloops all dogs over the age of six months must be licensed, with renewals taking place every February. Guide dogs or personal assistance dogs are required to be licensed but are exempt from fees and do not count towards household maximum numbers. Kennels and breeders also have separate rules under the by-law. The Dog Responsibility and Control By-law is made up of 17 divisions covering topics of licensing, maximum number of dogs, care and cleanup, seizures and dogs in public as well as dangerous, aggressive and nuisance dogs and the penalties for all offences.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013