TRURO – A proposed bylaw regarding dogs isn’t sitting well with many residents and businesses in Colchester County.
The municipality advertised the second reading of a kennel development bylaw, set for Aug. 30 at the county council meeting, and it’s being questioned by many.
A few days after the advertisement was published, and people began chatting about it on social media, the county issued a press release on the proposed bylaw.
The bylaw, says the release, was drafted following discussions about an application for a land use bylaw amendment to accommodate a kennel enterprise. Municipal staff was directed, by council, to consider options for kennel development regulation that would extend to areas not covered by the Central Colchester Land Use By-law.
“The staff review aims to ensure kennel development is compatible with existing land use,” reads the press release. “As an interim measure during the policy review, a temporary by-law prohibiting new kennel development was presented to council.”
The first reading of the proposed bylaw was held during a meeting on Aug. 9. The second reading gives council a chance to examine the content and need for any proposed bylaw. During the second reading, the proposed bylaw can be adopted, changed, or rejected.
In the document explaining the bylaw, it also appears to limit the number of dogs at any location to four or less. Each dog must be owned by the resident at the property, and each must have a dog tag.
Members of the Cobequid Dog Club are concerned with the proposed bylaw and what it could mean, and issued a press release.
Club spokesperson Emily Gratton says the bylaw “would severely change the way in which individuals are able (or forbidden) to own multiple dogs and operate hobby or professional kennels.”
Gratton, who owns Trollhattan Kennels in Upper Brookside, said their members are disappointed council “continues to behave in an unresponsive and undemocratic fashion.”
The club had requested to appear before council and make a presentation regarding the proposed bylaw. They had asked for a response by 5 p.m. Aug. 23.
“Council is elected to encourage and promote small business development and growth, not hinder it,” said Gratton.
She said the membership has “no choice but to increase the scope and intensity” of their public outreach program to deliver public pressure to have the bylaw rejected.
Amanda Sutherland lives in Colchester County and said she was shocked and saddened to read of such a bylaw.
“As a dog owner, and avid animal lover, I cannot fathom what benefit or value this bylaw would add to our community,” Sutherland wrote in response to the proposed bylaw. “Kennels that include day care, boarding, and training facilities offer an opportunity for our canine companions to succeed and flourish amongst our community.”
As a growing industry, Sutherland said the potential for economic growth, entrepreneurs, and new business development is unlimited.
“No longer are dogs perceived as only companions, guardians, or hunters; but as members of the family,” she said. “In 2016 the pet industry in Canada was estimated to be worth $7 billion dollars. We are in a world that has some Canadian companies offering bereavement days for pets, vacation photos while traveling, and even pet cams that allow owners to check up on their pets while they are away.
Not only is this restriction of economic growth shocking, but the benefits kennels and training facilities offer to the community are immeasurable.”
There are currently two public rallies planned for concerned residents regarding the proposed bylaw.
The Cobequid Dog Club is organizing one, which will begin at noon on Aug. 28, in the parking lot of Central Nova Animal Hospital on Main Street in Bible Hill. Attendees will be walking to the county office on the corner of Church and Queen streets.
A second public rally is planned for outside the county office at 6 p.m. Aug. 30, an hour before the council meeting is scheduled to begin.