Well. A couple days ago some caring dog lover posted in the comments about a proposed dog ban in Yarmouth - and was there anything that could be done about it.
There had been a super short article in the Chronicle Herald:
Dogs might not be welcome in Yarmouth
By The Canadian Press
YARMOUTH -- Dogs might no longer be welcome in Yarmouth.
The sleepy, seaside town is considering a ban of the animals after discussing the possibility at a recent Yarmouth town council meeting.
Deputy mayor Martin Pink says one of the biggest problems is dog excrement on the sidewalks.
Yarmouth does have a poop-and-scoop bylaw on its books, but he says many people aren't picking up after their pooches.
Pink also said some people have complained about menacing dogs.
Municipal staff will look at other towns in Canada that may have similar bans.
That just sounded ludicrous to me. It had to be some kind of misunderstanding on the part of the Chronicle Herald. And it was such a throwaway little article - and when I didn't see anything on the news that night - you'd think that the television news would have picked up something like that - banning dogs in an entire town? I mean, my GOD!
And then today.... I read....
Mon Oct 9, 2006 4:47 am (PST)
Bye-bye bow wow
Town ponders downtown dog ban
If you're thinking about opening up a doggy caf� on Main Street you might want to reconsider. Your business clientele could be on the scarce side.
The Town of Yarmouth is investigating the possibility of toughening up its dog bylaw so that dogs would not be allowed on Main Street in the downtown core.
And maybe not even in the central business district, although Councillor Byron Boudreau said that might be problematic because some people reside in apartments in the central business district and may have dogs as pets.
One reason for wanting to keep dogs out of the downtown core is dog droppings. Despite a poop scoop requirement in the town some owners don't pick up after their dogs. In recent years the Yarmouth Development Corporation has gone so far as to arm people with disposable cameras to catch the dirty deed on film to be used as evidence in court.
Another reason for wanting to ban dogs is because many people feel uncomfortable and nervous around dogs.
"You see a lot of mean looking dogs on Main Street, and even not so mean looking dogs," said Deputy Mayor Martin Pink. �They�re jumping at people, a lot of people have a fear of them so they cross the street to try and avoid them. I think it we want to enhance Main Street and have people feel more inclined to be there "eliminating the dogs would be a start." He and other councillors said another problem is how dogs react when they meet other dogs. It can be very difficult for owners to control dogs under this situation.
Plus Pink thinks getting rid of the dogs would solve the issue of loitering.
The deputy mayor expects there would be exceptions to the ban for guide dogs and for tourists who unknowingly come into the downtown with their dogs.
Signs would be posted to alert people to the no-dog rule.
"I can't come up with a reason why it wouldn't be good to get all dogs, not just vicious or scary dogs, but all dogs out of the downtown core," said Councillor Esther Dares. "It's just not a dog-friendly environment."
Meanwhile, following a motion of approval by council, the Department of Leisure Services will be posting signs that dogs are not permitted at its facilities when people are present. Dares said recent incidents involving dogs at Lake Milo and the Hebron Recreation Complex had led to this decision.
The town will likely post similar signs at its playgrounds.
"We just feel if people are present it's not appropriate," said Dares, who is a dog owner herself. "They're not dog parks, they're people parks."
She admits a place like Beacon Park poses a challenge because it's a park with a playground in the middle of it. It's even where the Yarmouth SPCA holds its annual dog job fundraiser.
"That will be one of the challenges that our staff have to come up with reasonable solutions for, because in the Town of Yarmouth there is no dog park."
But Dares says there probably should be and it is something the town should look into.
"Bigger communities have them and I don't think it's an unreasonable thing for dog owners to ask for," she said. "Even if it's just one park, a place where dogs can go to socialize.
Okay. Clear your heads. Try to ignore the sick feeling that has just started in the pit of your stomach. What is going to be happening down in the town of Yarmouth is what's called a "public space ban". That is a term that I thought we'd never hear here in Nova Scotia - I just recently heard the term myself and when I heard it I decided I'd never talk about it on this blog for fear that the Lloyd Hines' of this province would get wind of it and realize "what a good idea it could be".
It involves not banning dogs outright from the town - but basically you can't take your canine life companion anywhere. Except into your own back yard. Everything in the above article is so bass-ackwards in regards to responsible dog ownership that I don't even know where to begin in how to talk about how wrong Yarmouth is in what they're about to do.
In an October 5th column in the same newspaper they talk about how so many fewer tourists came through Yarmouth this year - don't they realize that tourists own dogs? And that Nova Scotian tourists also own dogs? And that I am a Nova Scotian and that I own a dog? And that I am never going to go to Yarmouth again? Don't they realize that maybe they just need to enforce the laws they already have in place? Don't they have any animal control bylaw in the town already? Can't that bylaw be enforced as it's currently written rather than writing a whole new bylaw banning dogs? That's absolutely ridiculous - talk about throwing out the baby with the bath water.
The whole bottom end of the province has just dropped into the ocean as far as I'm concerned. Until they decide to start letting their dogs out in public again. My money will stay where my dogs are allowed. And I'm sure there are literally 1000's of other responsible dog owners who feel the same way.
I'm assuming that Yarmouth is in the "municipality of the district of Yarmouth" - their website is at http://www.district.yarmouth.ns.ca/mo/go.aspx?ID=1 and these are the councillors - Bryan Smith, Warden - his email address is email@example.com - Brian Noble, - his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org - he's the Deputy Warden; Gilles Robichaud, - his email address is email@example.com (and his picture shows he's a cutie pattootee!) Daniel Muise - his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org , Ken Crosby - his email address is email@example.com - Staley Goodwin, his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org - Leland Anthony, his email address is email@example.com
Go and have a look around at the website and see what you can find and write to the esteemed councillors and tell them whether or not you've been planning on making a trip to that part of the province in the next little while - and whether or not you're going to go if they DO decide to not let people take their dogs outside of their houses. This is the twenty-first century of our Lord. The times are changing - but they aren't changing the way that the town of Yarmouth seems to want them to go. Not if I'm going to have anything to do with it!