A couple from the RM of Buckland is harshly criticizing what they see as a failure to enforce the community’s Dog Control Bylaw.
© Herald photo by Matt Gardner
Frustrated by the regular presence of a neighbour’s dog in his yard, RM of Buckland resident Barry McInnerney is strongly criticizing what he considers a lack of enforcement by the RM of bylaws requiring dog owners to maintain control over their pets.
Pointing to multiple attacks on cats and an ongoing dispute with their neighbour involving a dog crossing into their yard, Barry and Sharon McInnerney singled out the community’s political leadership.
“The RM is being led by somebody who figures that the dogs -- whoever’s -- have the right to run and do whatever they want,” Barry said.
The primary issue of the dispute involves their neighbour’s dog, whom the McInnerneys say has repeatedly encroached on their yard.
Sharon said that the beagle had run over her flowers, damaged property and also kept Barry -- who is employed in shift work -- awake during the day.
“That stupid dog comes onto our patio and starts howling,” she said. “I don’t know if you know what a beagle sounds like. It sounds like some prehistoric beast.”
The couple further accused the neighbour of initiating a physical altercation on their property (efforts by this reporter to contact the neighbour were unsuccessful).
One of the major factors pushing the McInnerneys to take their story public was a recent Daily Herald article detailing how fellow resident Lorene McLeod’s cat was killed on her porch by a pair of dogs.
The story was all too familiar for the couple.
“We’ve had our cat ripped apart also,” Sharon said.
When the couple recently found the neighbour’s dog on their property, they scooped it into a cage given to them by the dogcatcher and brought the dog to the RM kennel.
Later, Reeve Don Fyrk and his wife brought the dog back to their neighbour -- a move that for the McInnerneys exemplified what they consider to be Fyrk’s disregard for the Dog Control Bylaw, which mandates that people keep their dogs on a leash during walks or confined to their property if not on a leash.
“If I see some accident happen, I’m going to be the first one standing in a courtroom pointing a finger right at the RM and right at the reeve, saying that because of his actions, he is very culpable for any lawsuit,” Barry said.
The RM is being led by somebody who figures that the dogs -- whoever’s -- have the right to run and do whatever they want. Barry McInnerney
For his part, Fyrk said the reason he brought the dog back to the McInnerneys’ neighbour was simply because he knew who the owner was.
“We did that as a one-time favour to her because we knew who the owner was, so we waived the charges on it this one time,” he said. “But if it keeps happening … then we will be picking up the dog and she will be fined.”
He also noted that he did not want the RM getting involved in a feud between neighbours.
“I thought I could cut it down, but I think it’s going to be an ongoing feud forever out there,” he said.
“It’s their business. They can handle it.”
Regarding the attacks on cats, Fyrk said that the roving dogs generally do not belong to residents of the RM, but rather to visitors from the city.
“These people are too lazy to get out and put a leash on their dog and walk them in town or at the dog park,” he said. “So they just bring them out in the country and let them run and they drive their car along behind them.”
The RM can punish someone if they are caught driving around without their dog on a leash. But otherwise, Fyrk said, there is little the RM can do.
Addressing residents who experience problems with a neighbour’s dog, he noted, “If the dog keeps getting out and bothering the neighbours and it turns into a nuisance dog, it will be picked up by the dogcatcher and taken out to the kennel.”