Enforce the two-dog rule or get rid of it

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
June 15, 2017 - 11:30am

KAMLOOPS — There’s an old saying that ignorance of the law is no excuse.

When it comes to owning too many dogs in Kamloops, though, it’s good enough.

City council had yet another dog owner in front of it on Tuesday, and yet again it let the owner off the hook for having three dogs instead of the two allowed in the dog bylaw.

The owner explained that he wasn’t aware of the limit. Besides which, one of the dogs, poor old Dusty the Shih-poo, is having seizures and isn’t going to last long.

And the clincher: “We’re just trying to keep our family together,” he said. “Because they are our family.”

It’s often said — another old saying — that good fences make for good neighbors, but not in this case. An irate next-door neighbor who says the dogs make too much noise didn’t think the fence between the two yards was tall enough so she built another one (a six-footer) a few inches away from the one that was already there.

Dogs are a leading cause of neighbourhood disputes. Limiting the number of dogs per household is one way of keeping peace and quiet. As Coun. Pat Wallace pointed out, rules are rules and old dogs have a habit of living longer than they’re supposed to.

Nevertheless, perhaps swayed by the fact that several other neighbours don’t mind the dogs, or that the three dogs would eventually be reduced to two dogs through natural causes, council sided with the dog owner 5-2.

After all, how do you tell someone to get rid of a member of the family, because dogs are, indeed, members of the family.

But if council is going to keep letting people with small noisy dogs break the rules, maybe it should throw out the two-dog limit and put a poundage clause into effect — instead of limiting the number of dogs, legislate a maximum of, say, 40 or 50 pounds of dog per household.

That would make at least as much sense as what’s going on now.