Diesel the dog's owner Dave Smith died suddenly in motorhome | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Diesel the dog's owner Dave Smith died suddenly in motorhome

Diesel the dog's owner Dave Smith died suddenly last week.
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July 14, 2020 - 2:15 PM

Dave Smith, the Peachland man who engaged the Central Okanagan Regional District in a long, drawn out legal battle to save his impounded dog Diesel, died suddenly last week.

Police and coroners are investigating the sudden death of Smith, who was his 60s, and found in a motorhome in the 2300 block of Bering Road in West Kelowna.

"At this time, criminality is not suspected in the man's death," Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy, a spokesperson for the Kelowna Regional Detachment, said.

An obituary for Smith says he died of natural causes.

It asks those who want to remember Smith in some way consider a memorial donation to an agency related to his love of dogs, hinting at what Smith was most well known for.

Smith engaged the Central Okanagan Regional District in a long, drawn out battle about his dog Diesel, that had been deemed dangerous and taken from him by officials.

Through the battle he ultimately lost, he is credited by many of his friends, and people who followed the bylaw battle closely, for changing the regional district’s dog bylaws.

Diesel was seized in 2011 and he was kept in the pound for more than two years that followed. News reports from the time estimated the cost to taxpayers was an estimated $100,000.

In March 2013, a Kelowna judge ordered Diesel be turned over to an anonymous animal rescue organization of the Regional District’s choosing where it could be rehabilitated and trained before being fostered out to who they deemed to be a responsible owner.

Smith was ordered to have no contact with the organization or Diesel’s new owner.

While there is scant information on what became of Diesel, one thing that changed in the aftermath of the suit was the Regional District’s policy on impounding dogs.

In 2014, the bylaws were revised.

"We did a review of the dog control program and subsequently in early 2014 the Board adopted the Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw to encourage and support responsible dog owners," said Bruce Smith, with the regional district.

Among other things, it says the Regional District may seize a dangerous dog for up to 21 days in order for the owner to build a required enclosure and pay the prescribed daily pound maintenance fees or proceed with an application pursuant to section 49 of the Community Charter.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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