Rural areas outside of Chilliwack city limits are one step closer to having a bylaw in place by January to deal with aggressive and dangerous dogs.
A Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) service area bylaw approved by the board of directors will only apply to electoral Areas D (Popkum and Bridal Falls) and E (Columbia Valley, Chilliwack River Valley/Lindell Beach).
"We are very pleased to tackle this emerging issue that has had serious safety consequences for our residents," FVRD chair Sharon Gaetz said in a press release. "It is also important for the public to understand that this bylaw will not include a full complement of animal control services. It is specifically limited to address the aggressive dogs issue so that residents can be safe."
The issue of aggressive dogs in FVRD electoral areas came to the forefront in late summer after a pack of pit bulls that had terrorized a stretch of Yale Road in Popkum for months attacked and bit a 14-year-old boy.
The boy's younger sister had previously been chased by the dogs, as had the elected representative for the area, Area D director Bill Dickey.
"Putting through this service area bylaw allows us to acquire resources to fund this much needed service that has been supported by the residents in the electoral Area D," Dickey said.
After the attack in Popkum, it came to light that there was nothing the FVRD or the RCMP could do to crack down on the dangerous animals that were often seen loose on and off a 20-acre property.
Police said in September the owner of the pit bulls had moved the dogs off the property, but they didn't know where to.
Dickey had said the creation of a bylaw was underway but that because of how budgeting at FVRD works, nothing is possible before January 2014.
The bylaw next goes to the province for approval, after which it will come back to the FVRD. The soonest the bylaw will take effect is January.
After another attack on pregnant cows on Nicomen Island in early October, Area
G of the FVRD, the issue of aggressive dogs came up again. At that time, Area G director Al Stobbart said the cost of animal control could be prohibitive for the large electoral areas north of the Fraser River.
The current compromise bylaw will only serve Areas D and E, but for the remote areas in the FVRD, Stobbart said "We continue to work with partners to find a way to gather resources so that we can obtain this service in the future."
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