STAHN: Why a tethering bylaw has officials at the end of their rope

To tether or not to tether should not even be a question. But it is a question, and that’s because there is so much gray area when it comes to tying up your dog.

Where do you draw the line? Should dogs never be tied up? What if they are jumpers or runners? Is it okay if they have a clothesline style where they can still roam the yard or should that style of tying up still not be allowed? Is one hour or six allowable?

The City of Kamloops was recently asked to have its bylaw officers to make those calls through a bylaw to restrict tethering on private property. City council decided to not pursue the matter because they had not heard many complaints from the public about the issue. Aside from the costs of having bylaw officers follow up on every complaint of a tied-up dog, it appeared they were also hesitant to wade into the debate over what should be allowed.

Meanwhile the Central Okanagan Regional District has implemented a bylaw that restricts how long a dog can be tethered outside, which gives the district authority to fine pet owners.

Even without those regional bylaws in place, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act helps protect animals that become distressed for any number of reasons. But anti-tethering bylaws would create a proactive environment, potentially saving dogs from becoming distressed in the first place.

So this is kind of a tough subject for our elected officials. It's tough to define, tougher to enforce and legislation already exists for the more egregious examples out there. However that's likely to fall on deaf ears of the dog lobbyists who won't take no for an answer. A petition in Kamloops has thousands of names from across the globe and as we all learned this month, the dog-loving lobbyists are a rabid bunch no one wants to do battle with

To contact a reporter, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infonews.ca or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

Editor's Note in response to allegations from Vernon RCMP Supt. Jim McNamara
Editor’s note: • Watch shifts at the Vernon detachment have fallen to as low as three roadable officers. • The department suffers from chronic understaffing. • Sources, who we trust and who have knowledge of the s

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