I have just returned from a weekend in Victoria, participating in the amazing Pet Expo event.
Five of us went to collect signatures on a petition for The Not So Dangerous Dogs of British Columbia — a petition to the Legislative Assembly of B.C., requesting “change to the Community Charter, Section 49 ‘Special Powers in Relation to Dangerous Dogs’ or alternatively, introduce a new mediation process for the prosecution of ‘alleged’ dangerous dogs.”
This petition seeks to change the unchecked power of bylaw officers to seize dogs as being, or having the potential to be, dangerous by their opinion and their opinion alone, which is generally completely lacking in dog behaviour training or knowledge; asking that independent dog behaviour experts be the ones to determine whether or not a dog is ‘dangerous.’
The petition also seeks to stop long confinements of dogs when the owners try to save their lives through court process, which incarceration is cruel and harmful to dogs — and to their families who love them (Chum’s year-long confinement caused her an lengthy and painful death).
And this petition seeks to ensure that dogs are not killed before assessment and or due hearing, which has certainly been done, even here in the Comox Valley.
We had two videos running — one about eight dog victims of B.C. regional districts bylaw enforcement under the auspices of the dangerous dogs bylaw (including Chum and Champ, victims of the Regional District of Comox Valley) — and a video of Chum and Champ interacting with children and toddlers, showing the characteristic gentle nature of these Newfoundland dogs.
We collected almost 600 signatures over two days. Our booth was continually busy with people lined up to sign.
Many people had their own stories of cruel, cold-hearted and intractable behaviour of bylaw officers and the suffering or death caused to innocent dogs.
Both men and women cried when they heard the story of Chum and Champ — a story that would not have happened if there was accountability, fairness and humanity within the RDCV’s animal control department.
Perhaps the regional district was hoping the (expensive) debacle of the Chum and Champ case would be forgotten now that Chum has died, but it just might be that this poor dog has become a martyr for a cause whose time has come.