Editorial – Leashed approach

Whenever people want to avoid making a decision that may alienate a group of people, they can always find middle ground.

That seems to be the approach of the Dog Bylaw Review Panel who are planning to recommend to council that dogs deemed potentially dangerous based on breed will have the chance to wipe the slate clean with some canine classes.

Already practiced in Nanaimo, dogs on the restricted list — reserved mostly for pitbull and terrier breeds — can enrol in the Canine Good Neighbour Certification Program for a free pass from the restrictions.

It is the kind of response that will please some, but not all of the people involved.

The debate at times between the sides has been passionate with some going as far as singling out dog owners for their pooch’s pitfalls.

Having a merit-based system is not the easy out some may have been hoping for and is a step away from the sweeping restrictive policy in place now.

In a previous opinion piece, we’ve stated bylaws like this one help protect people more from bad pet owners than bad pets. Dogs that may be known to have aggressive traits can, in the wrong hands, be dangerous. But that can be said for any dog.

Which brings up one of biggest concerns for the graduated program, it puts the onus on the owners. A good pet owner with a well-behaved dog is more likely the type who will invest the time and money into a program such as this. So what about the ones who already openly skirt the laws in place? Are they going to care enough to enrol Rex?

It also raises the question of enforcement. If there are already people not following the bylaw, either through ignorance or outright defiance, does Ladysmith have the resources on the streets to stop owners to examine their street credentials?

Tell us what you think of the merit-based system for so-called dangerous breeds.