TRURO – “Heck no, vote no” was just one slogan about 100 people chanted outside the county office in protest to a proposed kennel bylaw.
“We had a dog business for a number of years and we retired from it,” said Malcolm Langille, who was one of those on site hoping the Municipality of Colchester County votes to defeat the proposed bylaw during their council meeting Aug. 30. “We did a lot of boarding and breeding – in Tatamagouche and Upper North River. If this had happened to us, it would’ve cut our income considerably. This will hurt a lot of people with small kennels.”
The municipality advertised the second reading of the proposed kennel development bylaw 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.
“This would get rid of a lot of dogs,” said Langille. “It’s the principle of the thing – we still have a lot of dog friends in the county. Just because we’re out of the business doesn’t mean we want to turn our back on it. If this goes through, it’s going to hurt the little people trying to find the money to live on – it’s not the big corporations running these boarding facilities, it’s the little people.”
During the rally, which began at Central Nova Animal Hospital in Bible Hill, Kim Pennie took to a small stage to address the crowd with a bullhorn.
“We’re all here because we are all concerned about this bylaw,” she said, adding it’s not just an attack on dog owners. “But pretty much anyone in Colchester County – if you use a doggie daycare, if you use a groomer, if you use a boarding kennel, or if your neighbour uses these services. It’s going to affect retail services and veterinarians. This is going to impact on a lot of people.”
Pennie said residents don’t want bylaws that tell them what they can and can’t do on their own property. She said residents want useful contributions to the developments of bylaws to help residents, not impede them.
“Council, listen to your residents, your businesses,” she said.
“We voted you in,” yelled one of the participants in response.
Selina Farrell owns a small dog, and also participated in the rally. She had some paperwork ready to give to some members of the media, with some research she had done. She said even if the bylaw is a temporary measure, it could still effect a lot of people in ways they make a living.
“It will also displace a lot of dogs and limit where our furry kids can be looked after,” the paperwork reads. “If it is tossed after a time, what happens to those people and pets it affected in the interim? Nowhere is there an end date of temporary injunction sanction or does it state it is.”
She wrote that this proposed bylaw would set animal welfare back 20 years, as it can be perceived as a “regressive and reactionary law aimed at punishing dogs and their owners and caregivers.”
She questions why it’s only dogs “being victimized” and that she doesn’t see any regulations on other animals, such as cats and horses.
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.