Change to animal control prompts questions

Regional district now provides service to Abbotsford

The Fraser Valley Regional District in Chilliwack.

The Fraser Valley Regional District in Chilliwack.

With the city’s animal control program now under regional authority, concerns about the new system were raised by a resident at council on Monday.

Diane Davies, who has made numerous presentations to council on animal issues in the city, was critical of turning over animal control to the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD).

She questioned why the city would sub-contract its animal control and shelter instead of having its own.

“Abbotsford city does not want to take the time and effort to set up an animal shelter,” said Davies.

As of Jan. 1, Abbotsford’s animal control program is managed by FVRD. While Abbotsford has previously used the pound in Chilliwack, other services have now been passed on to the district, including licensing and bylaw enforcement, such as barking complaints, off-leash infractions and aggressive dog investigations.

Local residents can still purchase a new dog licence at Abbotsford city hall or renew online at www.fvrd.bc.ca.

While Davies praised staff at the FVRD shelter, she said she hoped the city would follow up on how the program is working. She added that the Chilliwack pound is small and urged the city to also look for a location of three to five acres for its own shelter.

She also suggested posting notices in city parks giving the phone number of both the FVRD service and the SPCA.

At present, if a pet is picked up by animal control it must be retrieved in Chilliwack at the Community Animal Response and Education Centre (CARE), which can be reached at 1-844-495-CARE (2273) and is located at 44820 Wolfe Rd.

City manager George Murray said Abbotsford staff will ensure the program is working. He said Davies made some wise recommendations with regard to signage and said it is important to help people know who to phone to get service.

Coun. Patricia Ross said that with the changes to Abbotsford’s bylaws also come with improvements, including the FVRD regulations that include an anti-tethering clause, more animal control officers available to serve Abbotsford, a volunteer program and more. It wasn’t for lack of trying that Abbotsford doesn’t have a shelter, she said, adding the city made attempts for a couple of years but was unable to secure a space.

Staying with an independent operation would have increased the cost of providing the service for Abbotsford, while joining the FVRD program results in cost savings to the city.

For animal control information visit www.fvrd.bc.ca/Services/AnimalControl.