Richmond urged to crack down on canine cruelty
An animal rights group is urging city council to crack down on dog owners who chain, tether or otherwise cruelly confine their pets outdoors.
“It’s incredibly cruel, physically, emotionally,” said Janet Olson, spokesperson for Ban Resident Dogs. “Dogs are social animals who we bred specifically for the purpose of wanting to be with us, to be our companions.”
The group is asking for a ban on the chaining of dogs in backyards—or otherwise confining them to a pen. Olson and two other representatives pitched the idea to city council’s community safety committee Tuesday, using a graphic photo and video presentation to get their point across.
It’s already convinced Surrey to draft legislation, and Olson said her group will make the same request of all other Metro Vancouver municipalities.
Olson, a White Rock resident, has firsthand experience with dogs that have suffered on chains and in pens. She’s among six people charged in a rash of dog thefts throughout Metro Vancouver.
Olson, who is scheduled to appear in court next April, said the charges involve dogs that were penned, chained, starving, beaten or denied veterinarian care.
She faces 36 charges ranging from theft and fraud to break-and-enter in connection with alleged offences across the Lower Mainland—including Richmond—dating back to 2006. The allegations have not been proven in court.
Olson said chained and confined dogs can’t be seized under existing legislation unless the animals are close to death.
“We are obligated to defy laws that are creating suffering in a living creature that cannot help itself. Any rights that have been sought in this world…people have fought and have had to break the law to do so because the laws were unjust.”