To the Editor:
As one would expect, I read the editorial concerning the animal control bylaw with great interest. I find it very unfortunate that this effort was characterized by the Thompson Citizen as “a waste of time.” Pets reduce stress, help us stay active and bring joy to our lives daily.
Anyone who has a cat or dog knows that they become part of our greater families. In my opinion, fighting for the well being of families in this community is the most noble pursuit possible and I am proud that I could be an advocate for the hundreds of people who signed petitions, wrote letters or approached us on this issue.
While I am not satisfied by the result, I can say with all honesty that I believed this bylaw amendment would pass. During the five meetings this issue was discussed in committee, not one citizen opposed to this issue presented a reasonable opposition to the proposed amendments. Our side of this issue accommodated the needs of the opposing councillors by agreeing to vet checks, neighbour support letters and a review by administration. We were even supportive of home checks based on complaints (as opposed to checks as a mandatory procedural requirement). While we acknowledge that loose dogs are a concern, the process proposed ensured that the administration would have had full control over who had legal excess pets.
Coming out of committee I had personally approached a number of councillors, all of whom are dog owners themselves, to ensure support was there. My impression was that it was. Perhaps it was naive of me to think that the result would be any different from the ever-existent partisan split that has resurfaced, but I hoped that this council would be different. I leave it to your readers to judge that for themselves.
What we are left with now is unacceptable: good pet owners lumped in with the bad. (One councillor went so far as to publicly call all pet owners “bad owners.”) People are worried that at any time this city will come to take their family members away. Yes, our mayor herself indicated that this will not happen, but this allows any bad owner to point out the discrepancy when they are penalized. Some owners of excess pets have been allowed to register their excess pets with the city, resulting in an entangled mess that I had hoped to straighten out. What we’re left with unfortunately, is more of the same. Despite the failed attempt to address this problem, this is not wasted time. When is fighting for people over any issue ever a “waste of time?” I will continue to “waste” mine each and every day with pride.
Coun. Jeff Fountain