Richmond News letter: City, tighten leash on bylaws

An excellent letter to the editor on the current state of government policy on animal issues in Richmond, BC.

Richmond News January 26, 2011

The Editor,

Re: “Animal shelter faces anxious days ahead,” News, Jan. 21:

Alan Campbell’s latest article about the City of Richmond giving RAPS the run-around on its contract renewal is yet more evidence of the problem that has existed in Richmond for the past 15 years.

The bylaws department in this city is in need of a massive overhaul.

It can be seen in the petition to B.C. Supreme Court Mr. Ryan Lake recently announced in the News (Jan. 5, Letters, “Maybe you can fight city hall”) and his frequent observations of bylaw department inadequacies (Richmond News, July 31, 2009; Sept. 23, 2009; Oct. 23, 2009; March 12, 2010).

It can be seen in the minutes of the most recent city council meeting (Jan. 10), in which my wife and others were berated by council for suggesting that the current breed-specific bylaws were dysfunctional.

Finally, it can be seen in the fact that twice in the past two days, my wife and I were approached by growling, snarling, off-leash dogs in the City of Richmond.

My inspection of the animal control bylaw reveals that in both if these instances, there were no fewer than three sections of the bylaw violated simultaneously, which should have resulted in the dogs being impounded at the owners’ expense.

Where is the bylaw enforcement in this city?

Why does it work so poorly?

Until these questions are addressed, no progress on the problems I mentioned can be made.

The city should take as its incentive the realization that if everyone who had ever been traumatized by an aggressive dog in Richmond got together, the resulting class action could be very hard to ignore.

Eric Lagally


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