Municipality of North Cowichan
Finally, something good has come out of the animal abuse case involving Teddy the Dog.
Lake Cowichan council added a new section of its animal control bylaw so as to include wording around animal cruelty, Duncan is in the process of amending its animal control bylaw and North Cowichan has adopted a new Animal Responsibility Bylaw.
North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring takes us through some of the key parts of the new bylaw.
“Nobody can keep more than three dogs over the age of eight weeks; when in public, dogs have to be on a leash at all times and under the control of a competent person, unless it’s in a designated off-leash area,” said Siebring. “Female dogs in heat have to remain within an enclosed building or pen, except if they’re being firmly held on a lease by a competent person outside of that. Dog feces have to be cleaned up.”
North Cowichan’s Animal Responsibility Bylaw also lays out that no dogs can bark, howl, yelp, cry or make other noises for ten minutes or more.
A BC SPCA official has described the Teddy case as one of the most ‘profoundly shocking,’ cases of animal abuse ever witnessed and one of the four founders of the United for a Paws group, Jennifer Metz said some good has come out of this case.
“Unfortunately, with what Teddy had gone through; if it wasn’t for his story United for a Paws wouldn’t have been created, United for a Paws would not have held the Cowichan Cares event last year, where we saw local government leaders coming together under one roof to battle for change,” said Metz. “Without Teddy, these laws wouldn’t have been updated, without Teddy welfare components wouldn’t have been brought in. There are just so many good things that have come out of such tragic circumstances.”
Siebring said while North Cowichan, Duncan, and Lake Cowichan have similar bylaws, the CVRD and Cowichan Tribes bylaws are different and that can make understanding these bylaws difficult.
“It’s still a bit confusing in different jurisdictions; our bylaw, Duncan’s bylaw and Lake Cowichan’s are all pretty much mirrored on the model bylaw that the SPCA has now,” said Siebring. “We had input from a number of community groups that are involved with animals. This was all very much part and parcel of the Teddy case, the challenge now is to try and have this uniformly done across the area.”
Metz said the adoption of this bylaw is a huge step forward for the Cowichan Valley.
“This is something we have championed for since April of last year, so to see this whole thing come full circle, [from] seeing where the bylaws were (because they hadn’t been updated since 1995), to see them actually come in and be updated and to include welfare components to better protect and keep the animals safer in the Cowichan Valley, it’s absolutely huge.”
As part of the process, Pit Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, English Bull Terrier, Pit Bull, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier were breeds of ‘dangerous dogs’ that were removed from the legislation.
For a look at the Animal Responsibility Bylaw, click here.