THEY MAY have only been minor changes to the city’s animal control by-law but they did spark a debate among council members leading up to the formal adoption of the changes Monday evening.
The debate June 10, in which the change bylaw was given first, second and third readings, lead to discussion about a dog ban for public events with George Little Park being specifically singled out.
“It’s a park. We ought to think of ways of strengthening our hand there,” said councillor Brian Downie, who acts as liaison to the Riverboat Days organizing committee.
Downie said that typically the festival lets people know about its no dog rule through published information.
But the potential for a biting incident and the cruelty of submitting a leashed dog to a mass of people were considered reasons to beef up the rules about dogs.
The debate swung between soft and hard approaches to the presence of dogs at festivals and in parks.
Mayor Dave Pernarowski suggested a non legally binding measure of posting signs, a tactic used by the Skeena Valley Farmers Market which sets up shop each Saturday in the large parking lot area on the western edge of George Little Park.
Councillor Lynne Christiansen, who sits on the market’s governing body, said the dog-free policy has been difficult to enforce, even with signs.
Councillor Marylin Davies agreed with the position take by councillor Stacey Tyers that policing might not be the best way to solve potential problems, and suggested trying outreach.
The by-law amendments do make clear that walking dogs off-leash within city limits is to be only allowed on a certain portion of Ferry Island.
The bylaw amendment further adds that a dog being walked off of its leash “shall at all times remain with visual surveillance and under the direct control and responsibility of an owner or possessor.”