Ucluelet animal control bylaw to get a closer look

Is the District of Ucluelet animal control and licensing bylaw being enforced? The Westerly News asked at a recent council meeting.

“We have bylaw enforcement within the district,” said CAO Andrew Yeates. “Several members of staff are capable of handling bylaw enforcement issues.”

He said anyone who sees a dog that looks lost or is running at large can contact the district during regular office hours and that there is an after hours line available.

Coun. Sally Mole said Facebook pages have become great tools for tracking lost dogs.

“There’s a whole underground dog-caring network out there,” she said citing the Used Ucluelet and WestCoast Animal Lovers pages as examples.

Mayor Bill Irving said the district plans to use local media and online sources to promote the district’s bylaws and provide clarity to locals on what they mean.

“We’re going to try to pursue that very vigorously this spring,” he said adding the animal control and licensing bylaw is near the top of the list of bylaws set to be featured.

Dogs do not have to be on a leash in Ucluelet but must be in the control of a person and the fine for allowing a dog to run at large is $50 for the first offence and $100 for subsequent offences.

Failing to properly dispose of dog excrement carries a $25 fine for the first offence and a $50 fine for subsequent offences.

When asked if locals should contact the district if they see someone fail to remove their dog’s excrement Yeates responded it would be “impossible to enforce it.”

Dangerous dogs must be leashed and muzzled in Ucluelet and any owner who fails to do either will face a $200 fine for the first offence and $400 for subsequent offences.

Yeates said anyone who sees a dangerous dog running at large should contact the RCMP.

Sgt. Jeff Swann of the Ucluelet RCMP said the local detachment does not have facilities to take care of lost animals but confirmed local police are equipped to deal with dangerous dogs.

“Especially in a small town, if there’s any incident that we can help with we will help,” Swann said. “If it’s an aggressive animal that is going after somebody or hurting somebody, those are calls we want to go to.”

Swann recalled an injury he received while chasing down a dangerous dog that resulted in multiple stitches up his leg.

“I ran there and unfortunately the dog got me,” he said noting the important thing is that he was the only person injured during the incident.

“Those things are important to us and if there’s an aggressive dog situation or any aggressive animal we always like to be one of the first to get called,” he said.

reporter@westerlynews.ca