Last month, Surrey city council presented a resolution to the Union of B.C. Municipalities regarding the tethering of dogs in B.C.
This resolution was in a response to a presentation in April 2012, by the Campaign for Animal Rights Legislation (CARL), asking for a tethering ban or a one-hour time limit on tethering. Such bylaws are currently in place in Burnaby, New West, Lion’s Bay, Richmond, Victoria and Calgary, and which will soon be enacted in Langley, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Mission.
During the presentation, I and Marlene Keefe informed Mayor Watts and her councillors that the PCA Act did not protect dogs from the cruelty of tethering, as it required an assessment of distress – which remains undefined in the Act and has proven unenforceable.
Marcie Moriarty, of the BC SPCA, also informed Surrey city council that only time-limited tethering legislation would be enforceable (Surrey to revise anti-tethering proposal, Sept 5).
Despite these pleas, and to the great dismay of animal lovers throughout B.C., Surrey’s resolution to the UBCM did not ask for a ban or even a time limit to tethering – but simply asked that the tethering of dogs be included in the PCA Act stating “to permit enforcement under the Act in situations where tethering causes a dog to be in distress, within the meaning of the Act.”
As this is simply a duplication of the current wording – which Ms. Moriarty advised them was very difficult to enforce – this resolution has done nothing at all to end the suffering of chained dogs in B.C.
In addition, despite their promise in April 2012 to pass an emergency bylaw banning the tethering of unattended dogs, the City of Surrey has yet to do so. In my opinion, Surrey was hoping the province would take the decision out of their hands. However, they ensured that couldn’t happen by failing to propose effective and enforceable legislation.
As a result, there is now no end in sight to the suffering of chained dogs in Surrey and the majority of B.C. municipalities.
If California – a state with 10 times the population of B.C. – can ban the tethering of dogs, which they did in 2007, certainly B.C. can.
All that is lacking here is the humanity and the will to do so.
Janet Olson, Surrey