Editor, Mission Record:
It is with a heavy heart I witnessed Mission council decide 5-2 to not proceed with proposal one to adopt desperately needed tethering/confinement provision accompanying basic care and handling regulations. The sheer lack of compassion but equally, complete lack of facts and thus fear mongering by Coun. Larry Nundal prevailed, unfounded claim of $50,000-plus costs, that BCSPCA ought to attend to such enforcement, references to inadequate provincial legislation, total lack of understanding of need for a municipal bylaw, as adopted across BC municipalities to augment BCSPCA investigation/enforcement effectiveness and quite frankly an environment of bafflegab. Indeed, under the guise and indignant persona of “don’t tell me I don’t like animals” all but Couns. Nelson Tilbury and Jenny Stevens voted against doing anything to improve lives of dogs in Mission. Sadly, in the time available, obvious lack of preparation and research, no qualified advisor present, except myself and others in the audience who could not participate in the debate.
Mission council we asked by two delegations to review two important bylaw amendments that if adopted could start to develop a more caring community, as the way we treat our animals so too do we treat our seniors’ and sadly, each has been suffering at the sheer indifference and neglect of our municipal councils to date.
First, council has been asked to eliminate tethering dogs, which is only reasonable on all counts. Dogs are meant to run and play, to enjoy social engagement with fellow dogs and humans alike, not be chained for 24 hours outside in all forms of weather. Irresponsible pet guardians have no caring and will argue they have a right to chain, dogs are used for protection which is stupidity personified, as a chained dog outside is not going to protect families indoors. Further, barking dogs often are scared, suffering some discomfort, are in harm’s way to predators and certainly awaken neighbours at all hours, while they bark incessantly unattended. This provision to remove chain and tethering all together must accompany provision of a proper pen and run or conversely a properly fenced yard to roam unfettered. Simply, unchaining dogs to roam at-large is not the solution either.
Second, from the outset, there ought to have been a no-kill animal shelter for dogs and cats, with one entity responsible for animal protection and control. Currently over $300,000 is spent just for dog animal control, in a $ 600,000 facility, the old dog pound, bought for dog control. Whereas, by contrast to deal with massive thousands of cats, a mere $ 25,000 fee-for-service grant is awarded to FVHS. Such absolute folly and plain stupidity given the demands upon volunteers caring about cats is beyond any reasonable expectation and sheer neglect by municipal council.
Yet, “the mumble and neglect approach”, by Coun. Nundal, seeks to perpetuate the “do nothing” and blame council ineptness, being remiss to undertake remedy for homeless, lack of police, fire and inaction for seniors” so why bother with animals”. Sadly, Coun. Nundal was part of the problem, as director bylaw and animal control back in 1995 and now perpetuates his ignorance as a councillor but he should know better. Sadly, some novice councillors, except Coun. Tilbury who supported the motion, denied “staff” the opportunity to review and make recommendations on a long-term plan to consolidate animal control into a joint cat and dog no-kill, facility. While Langley Township and more recently Maple-Ridge have established state of the art facilities and others adopted effective bylaws, Mission is in a time warp of no effective facilities, no effective bylaws, inadequate funding, volunteers “burning out”, many devoting countless hours and money from pensions to try and deal with the overwhelming unwanted cat dilemma, our uncaring and frankly, ignorant council bury their heads in the sand and hope ignoring the problem it will just go away thus perpetuating the indifference that has prevailed since 1995.
The overall solution is explained, in part, on our web.site www.thecouncilclaw.ca, under “Our Position On Issues” Section 31, Animal Relations that will give guidance to authorities on what to do. Yes, our fine municipality is held hostage as an uncaring and perceived prehistoric council who does not care about our Pets, such shame our elected council brings upon us.
George F. Evens