PORT McNEILL — A new animal-control bylaw, spurred by a recent dog-on-dog attack that left a local woman’s pet dead, passed first and second reading during council’s regular meeting.
But the bylaw also drew some criticism and will face additional scrutiny before it can be approved.
“If this bylaw was in place for me, that would be a life-changer,” said Shilo Desrosiers, whose Rottweilers, Diesel and Jade, escaped their enclosure and attacked and killed a Yorkshire Terrier belonging to Teena Slater in early May. “I would probably leave Port McNeill.
“Right now, it’s like a victim’s bylaw.”
In particular, Desrosiers took issue with an amendment to the current bylaw which would prohibit keeping within town limits “any dog which has killed or injured a person or domestic animal.”
Speaking during public comment period at the end of the June 6 meeting, Desrosiers said the bylaw should allow for circumstances of each case to be taken into consideration.
She said her dogs have always been kept in a closed run on her property when outside, and other, unaccompanied dogs have regularly entered her property to run alongside the enclosure and bark and provoke her animals.
Desrosiers said she’s still unsure how her dogs escaped during the incident in May, but insists they were provoked into the attack.
“When my dogs got loose, they chased the other dog out of the yard,” she said.
“It’s horrible for her and it’s horrible for me. It’s horrible, because she’s my neighbour.”
Coucillors commiserated with Desrosiers on some parts of the bylaw, and have already identified clauses that will or may need to be altered, including the definition of dangerous animals.
Coun. Gaby Wickstrom also pointed out apparent contradictions contained in different clauses of the bylaw, which would replace the existing animal-control bylaw.
An amended version of the new bylaw is expected to be presented for third reading at council’s next meeting, Monday.
Werner Manke of the School District 85 Board of Trustees provided council information on upcoming changes to schools and staffing in the community.
They include hiring Scott Benwell to replace Kathy Bedard as Superintendent of Schools, the appointment of Rena Sweeney as principal of Sunset and Cheslakees elementary schools, and the realignment of the two schools.
Beginning September, all students in Grades 1 to 7 will attend class at Sunset, while Cheslakees will house three kindergarten classes and the Strong Start program. Currently, Cheslakees houses kindergarten through Grade 5 classes and Sunset has a K to 7 enrollment.
Coun. Shelley Downey said work on the tennis courts at North Island Secondary School continues, and the refurbished courts should be available for use by the public this summer.
Downey credited the work of SD85’s John Martin, Shane Field of the Sointula Tennis Club, volunteer firefighters and other local volunteers with planning and implementing the upgrades to the courts that had deteriorated over the past several years to the point they were unplayable.
“The fire department is cleaning the courts when they’re out during their practice session and the paving company will be up in mid-June to do what they do,” said Downey.
“Then we’ll have tennis courts again.”
While the courts are located on school district property, they’ll be open to use by the general public.