RDN introduces fines for dogs at large in Coombs/Errington

Farmers Institute president said it's a big win for locals

Who let the dogs out? You might be faced with penalties up to $500.

After a number of high profile dog attacks in Coombs/Errington, many of which were reported by The NEWS this year, the Regional District of Nanaimo board amended their animal control bylaw to include two additional fine provisions.

The regional district introduced a $50 fine for dogs found “at large,” defined by the RDN as “being elsewhere than on lands or premises of the owner and not being under the immediate charge and control of a responsible person.”

Additionally, the RDN introduced a $500 fine for dogs found “harassing or molesting a person, livestock or other domestic animal.”

Coombs Farmers Institute president Janet Thony said it’s a big win for local farmers.

“We (farmers) will experience somewhat increased control and protection of our livestock,” said Thony, who formed an ad-hoc committee to deal with dogs attacking livestock more than two years ago and has been spearheading the movement ever since.

“Dog owners need to be fully aware that the responsibility is theirs to keep their dog at home. It’s no different than me, as a farmer with a cow in my field. By law, I have to keep that cow in the field behind a fence and if she went to the neighbours and trampled their garden or kicked their child I’d be in trouble,” she said. “A dog can create a lot more mayhem on the loose… It’s their nature to chase and hunt and kill for their sustenance.”

She said the onus is on dog owners to be responsible for their dogs, not on farmers to build better fences.

RDN manager of building, bylaw and emergency planning services Tom Armet said the changes come in direct response to “several incidents” reported in the Coombs/Errington (Area F) region where dogs have historically attacked livestock. Armet said the bylaw changes only apply to Coombs/Errington.

Armet confirmed this particular bylaw currently provides for the impoundment of “dangerous dogs found at large” only. A further amendment to include “dogs at large” and an impound fee will be brought forward in the new year for the board’s consideration.

“The more we can protect farmers the better,” said RDN director Julian Fell, who represents Coombs/Errington and has long been advocating for more stringent animal control bylaws in the area. “A dog is derived from predatory ancestors and farm animals are generally prey so when a farm animal sees a dog it reacts with fear… This can be damaging. You can have cows walking into fences, breaking legs and then you lose the value of that animal, which can be large.”

In January, an Errington resident’s alpaca was killed, the owner suspects by a dog, or pack of dogs. Last year, a llama was killed in Hilliers. In 2013, five sheep were attacked and killed by a pack of marauding pit bulls in Hilliers.

Highlights from Tuesday night’s regular Regional District of Nanaimo meeting:

• The board approved the proposed 2016 budget and directed staff to proceed with finalizing the 2016 to 2020 financial plan pending direction from the strategic planning process.

• The board directed staff to issue a request for proposals for executive search firms to provide assistance with the recruitment and selection of a new CAO for the RDN following CAO Paul Thorkelsson’s recent resignation effective Dec. 9.

• The board approved funding of $122,300 to support the Oceanside Victim Services Restorative Justice and Community Policing Programs and $5,000 for Oceanside Community Safety Volunteers.

• In District 69, the board awarded a total of $9,000 in Youth Recreation Grants and a total of $17,174 in Community Recreation Grants.

• The board awarded a total of $4,822.58 in grants in District 68 and a total of $12,795.64 in District 69. For details on recipients and amounts, visit www.rdn.bc.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: City of Parksville to open offices on June 1

Health and safety restrictions will be in place

Program at Parksville’s McMillan Arts Centre offers chance to connect art, environmentalism

MAC program works to create community arts installation in city

Questions remain as summer tourism approaches in Parksville Qualicum Beach

COVID-19: Association hopes residents continue to support local businesses

‘A bottomless well of love for people and communities’

Parksville Qualicum Beach News editor JR Rardon dies at age 61

Petition underway to get RDN to improve Sandpiper water quality

Campaign urges regional district to make issue a priority

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

100-pound gargoyle stolen from backyard in Nanaimo’s south end

RCMP asking for any information about the statue’s whereabouts

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

Most Read