Regional District of Central Kootenay staff are expected to look into the pros and cons of a dog control bylaw for the Slocan Valley, with the possibility of sending it to referendum in November.
Director Walter Popoff says he has reports from bylaw enforcement and the RCMP on recent dog-related incidents in the area and is now seeking an opinion on how much an animal control service would cost.
“I want all of this information correlated and a recommendation on the policy and financial implications of having a dog control bylaw,” he says. “Once I have that report, I can make an informed decision whether to proceed.”
Popoff previously looked at a localized service for South Slocan, but the projected costs were too steep for residents. He suspects the impact on individual homeowners would be far less when spread across the entire electoral area, “but until I have the analysis done by our researcher, I’d only be guessing.”
Popoff’s request hit a speed bump at the committee level, where directors only narrowly endorsed it. Regional district chair John Kettle was among those who voted against it, due to a lack of information. However, he has since been supplied with the missing details and will support the idea when it reaches the board table on Thursday.
“I didn’t think we had enough information to do what the director was asking,” Kettle says. “He wasn’t there to make the presentation. Subsequently he sent me all the information and it’s more than adequate. I will not be voting against it this time.”
Kettle says he looked at such a bylaw for the rural Creston area he represents, but the annual cost of $75,000 made it a non-starter.
Popoff says for a vote to be held in the fall, staff need to be directed this week to get cracking on the report. The referendum would cost $6,000 if held in conjunction with municipal elections, versus $12,000 as a standalone. If the vote passes, the costs are covered by the new service, but if it fails, they’re borne by the entire regional district.
The issue of dog control in the Slocan came to a head after two separate incidents recently in Winlaw, in which an alpaca was killed and a man suffered over 35 puncture wounds when his dog tangled with a neighbour’s animals. Although RCMP investigated the incidents, they said the lack of a bylaw limited what they could do.
The regional district has animal control in five electoral areas around rural Nelson, rural Castlegar, and the Arrow Lakes.