SURREY — Following the approval of stricter provincial anti-tethering legislation at the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) convention, the City of Surrey is now looking to tighten its own bylaw against the act of leaving unattended dogs chained to trees or posts for extended periods of time.
Mayor Dianne Watts brought up the matter of amending the city's antitethering legislation at the end of Monday's public hearing, asking city solicitor Craig MacFarlane on the status of changes to the city bylaw.
"Because of enforcement issues and issues related to a common provincial standard for tethering that we would prefer, we have not amended our bylaw," said MacFarlane.
Watts made a motion to amend the city's bylaw, which was approved unanimously by council. MacFarlane added that city staff are drafting a report on what the amendment would include.
At the last UBCM convention, Surrey put forward a motion to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, adding a specific reference to "tethering of dogs" and permitting enforcement "in situations where tethering causes a dog to be 'in distress.'" However, Janet Olson of Campaign for Animal Rights Legislation (CARL) criticized the amendment, calling it a rewording the previous legislation and saying it did not offer guidelines for how distress is determined.
In April 2012, Olson and Marcie Moriarty of the BC SPCA called on Surrey council to create its own municipal legislation to either put a one-hour time limit on tethering or ban it entirely within the city.
Olson – founder of A Better Life Dog Rescue – has been a longtime advocate for animal safety, though she has faced legal troubles around her rescue efforts. Last year, she was handed 36 charges in connection with a series of alleged dog thefts across the Lower Mainland since 2006.
Council is expected to consider the amendment at the next council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12.
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