The City of Richmond will soon have the power to demand identification if your dog is suspected of breaking a bylaw.
Bylaw officers were all but given the go-ahead Tuesday to demand I.D. if someone’s dog is off-leash when it’s not permitted or for failing to pick up their pet’s poo.
At present, people can simply walk away. Once the new rule kicks in, failing to produce the I.D. attracts a $200 fine.
There’s only one problem with the new rule — approved this week along with a raft of animal control amendments, such as limiting to an hour the time a dog can be tied up — no one, according to Coun. Ken Johnston, will listen to a bylaw officer.
“I’m not sure that people are going to produce I.D. for this?” he said.
“I think unless it’s a police officer, no one is going to produce their I.D.”
Bylaw officers will now be able to call the police if someone fails to produce I.D. on request.
It’s not that Johnston thinks the offending owners shouldn’t be paying for their “sins,” something he knows all about while walking his own dogs on the Finn Slough.
“That area down there is a mess with people not picking up and it’s the same at McDonald Beach,” he said.
“In all my years of walking around (with the dogs), it’s never been like this, it’s disgusting.”
Johnston appealed for the city’s bylaw department to put up more signs, while Coun. Derek Dang asked for a greater bylaw officer presence.
“I would like to see them down there for an educational thing, rather than for fining people,” added Dang.
However, Coun. Bill McNulty said there’s plenty of signage on the west dyke that owners with an “attitude” simply ignore.
City council’s community safety committee approved Tuesday afternoon amendments to the animal control bylaw, which will see the unattended tethering of dogs limited to one hour.
If the dog is to be tied up, the length of leash must not be less than three metres.
City staff have been looking into drafting an updated animal control bylaw since the fall and after animal rights campaigners urged councillors to take action against the "cruel" act of tying and chaining up dogs and leaving them for hours on end.
Also contained in the proposed amended bylaw will be a limit on the length of a leash for a designated dangerous dog — 1.2 metres. And the owner of such a dog should also be at least 19 years of age.