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petnews March 1st, 2003 11:18 PM

Wild dogs plague Pritchard
Wild dogs plague Pritchard

Cam Fortems

Saturday, March 01, 2003

Unruly dogs are terrorizing a Pritchard neighbourhood and stealing the simple pleasure of an evening stroll.

"It's my little ones who are really scared," said Victor Nickerson, who's lived in the Pritchard Development subdivision for 15 years.

He estimates problems began about four years ago. Since then, he's cataloged a litany of delinquent dog problems, particularly mutts chasing bikes, cars and pedestrians through neighbourhood streets.

"If they stayed off the street and stopped biting that would be better," Nickerson said. "Barking is third on my list."

Nickerson has children aged 12, five and four years old. After being nipped last year, his five-year-old daughter is too scared to bike ? under her parents' watch ? a block down the street to her grandmother's house.

Not only was his daughter bit, but Nickerson had to place a bicycle between his family and a menacing dog to keep it off on another occasion.

"It's all through the neighbourhood," he said. "At a friend's house he counted 14 dogs in one corner. They bark all the time."

Nickerson turned to the Thompson-Nicola Regional District for help, but discovered it has no rules regarding dogs.

Greg Toma, planning director for the TNRD, said most regional districts don't have an animal control bylaw because their areas are too large to police.

"We as a local government have chosen not to go into animal control. The area is too huge. The resources needed would be insurmountable. People couldn't afford the taxes."

Toma said it's not the first time homeowners outside a municipality have turned to the regional district with frustration over unruly dogs. The TNRD has one bylaw officer who covers an area stretching from Blue River in the north to the Coquihalla toll booth in the south and from Chase in the east to Big Bar on the west.

His duties include unsightly premises complaints, but not animals.

"You look at problems inside the city (with dogs)," Toma said. "We have a 45,000-square-kilometre area."

Toma noted that many residents live outside municipalities for a reason ? the lack of rules and bylaws.

Nickerson doesn't know where to turn next to gain some control over neighbourhood dogs.

Six months ago one man in a truck who'd been repeatedly chased by a dog came back armed with a baseball bat. He doesn't want the problem to sink to that level, or worse, to the point where a dog is shot.

"You have to take care of your own. How do you do it with no rules?"

Copyright 2003 Kamloops Daily News

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