Animal bylaw one step closer

PORT McNEILL — A new animal-control bylaw moved one step closer to adoption as council approved third reading during its regular meeting June 20.

PORT McNEILL — A new animal-control bylaw moved one step closer to adoption as council approved third reading during its regular meeting June 20.

The bylaw, intended to address the issue of dangerous or potentially dangerous animals within town limits, underwent some language changes after council approved first and second readings in its previous meeting.

“I think where we’re going with this is to get dog owners to take responsibility for their animals,” Coun. Shelley Downey said. “If your pet is on a leash or on your property, it’s not going to be a problem.”

The bylaw applies to all animals, but dogs are at the forefront of current debate.

It was prompted by an attack last month in Port McNeill in which two Rottweillers owned by Shiloh Desrosiers killed a Yorkshire Terrier owned by neighbour Tina Slater.

The bylaw was drafted by town staffer Sue Harvey, who relied in large part on an existing bylaw in Campbell River.

Changes made to the bylaw between the second and third readings include a new definition of “dangerous dog” as any dog that has killed or seriously injured a person, or killed or seriously injured a domestic animal on property not owned or occupied by the person responsible for the dog.

Other changes include a prohibition on keeping livestock and poultry in the town limits, and the deletion of several sections regulating the animal control officer’s access to private property.

Both Desrosiers and Slater attended the meeting and made statements to council.

“I’m extremely upset my 14-year-old had to witness this, and I implore you to stand by the original bylaw,” Slater read from a prepared statement.

“I’m simply advocating for responsible ownership.”

Kitchen use OK’d

Council approved a request by a Vancouver Island Health Authority counselor to use the kitchen at the Family Centre once every other week.

David Jennison, a mental health and rehabilitation counselor, requested the facility to provide at-risk clients a place to learn cooking skills, socialize with others in a productive environment and take home healthy food items.

Coun. Aaron Frost noted the request was for an unspecified duration, and made a motion that a time frame be placed on the kitchen use.

“I’d like to see us give it a trial run,” Mayor Gerry Furney said. “I think it’s a valuable service for the community.”

Council voted unanimously to approve the kitchen use on a three-month trial basis, followed by review.