I love this time of year. Really, what is not to love? The horseflies have had their hey day. The nights are so cool and lovely for open window sleeping. Even better of course is that the garden is running at such full throttle that every day is a picking and preserving and pickling bonanza.
Best of all of course is that these late summer pleasures provide badly needed comfort and relief for anyone who has followed federal and global politics for the last couple of years. To be perfectly honest, the key to happiness on many days has become NOT checking the news.
The testy topic of how we Canadians really have no grounds to feel one single bit smug about what is happening south of the border since June is a sticky subject for a blog with a different focus than this one, eh?
It would be easy in the midst of all this to forget just how much power our local municipal and county councils have over our everyday lives.
Take the Great Garbage Dispute that Annapolis County is having with Valley Waste. Why should I care about that? Kings County paid their bill so none of US had to worry about our garbage collection. Nobody came and took our green carts. Nor will we have to worry about what taxpayers will wind up paying in legal costs resulting from the expropriation of the waste facility in Lawrencetown.
No .. why should I worry about any of that indeed? Well .. here is the thing. Nova Scotia is such a small province that local issues tend to ripple around the province. You can guarantee that all municipal and county councils pay very, very close attention to what their counterparts are doing around the province. Not to be mean, but like the proverbial schoolyard full of kids, what one doesn’t think of the others will.
That is why I am so very concerned about what is happening in Colchester County. Why should I care what they are doing up there? Because this is not the first time that politicians have sought to make political hay by riding roughshod over dog owners. Nor, I sadly suspect, will it be the last.
Wot you say? Wot? Wot? How did I find out about this down here in Kings County? Social media is happily good for more than getting reality tv show hosts elected. Here in this province, concerned animal lovers pay attention to what is going on.
The short version is that this week I was stunned to see that the Colchester County Council had cobbled together a little nugget they are calling “The Kennel Development By-Law”
(If the above link does not work, scroll down to read)
This was apparently created at the last Council meeting without any public consultation. Even worse, without any taxpayer input, this little nugget passed first reading at the very same meeting. Worst of all of course is that Council still intends to have the second of this “draft” bylaw at their next council meeting on the 30th of August
Why do I believe this is such a problem? Am I planning on opening a kennel? Of course not. But any dog owner should find the the purpose of the draft disturbing. It clearly states that “This By-law is intended to prohibit any kinds of Kennels for the boarding of dogs in the Municipality of Colchester. ” Wow!
Furthermore, in with all the gabblespeak, there is a nasty little bit about enforcement. I am a middle aged grandmother not a lawyer but the idea that a bylaw officer can come in without a warrant and seize property seems at best a bit dodgy. And before the keyboards catch on fire, the only exceptions to this draconian measure are the county pound, education institutes, SPCANS facilities, vet clinics and private homes where there are no more that four dogs
Yes you read right. Bylaw enforcement officers which, since Elsie De Bay’s tragic passing now include the SPCANS with their nifty bullet proof vests, can enter any home they suspect of housing more than four dogs. Even worse, if one doesn’t let them in there will be additional charges and fines.
Think about that. In addition to proving gawd knows what point to the local business community, this by law will directly affect any animal rescues with foster homes in Colchester County. Including SPCANS, but it is a safe bet they will not be raiding their own foster homes.
Think about it . Anyone whose kids move back home with their pets could be in violation. Anyone who takes in an elderly parent with pets could become a criminal. Newlywed blended families should save up for the fines.
Then think about the idea that the very people who are being paid by your tax dollars are trying to tell you how many dogs you can have. Or that they will not countenance boarding facilities for the convenience of pet owners in the county.
What time is it? It is all very fine and well for us to wring our hands about what is happening south of the border. But right here, right now…. no matter where you live in this province … it is time to be concerned enough to contact the Colchester County Mayor and the Colchester County Council
And of course, if you are a pet owner who lives in Colchester County, attending that Council meeting at 7 pm on Thursday, August 30th should assuredly be on your to do list.
Skywalker, still looking to the horizon. Never here, now, hmm? The need in front of your nose.
Yoda fr The Last Jedi
Municipality of the County of Colchester
Kennel Development By-law
1. Title and Scope
1.1 This By-law is enacted pursuant to Section 172 of the Municipal Government Act, SNS 1998, and c 18 and shall be known and may be cited as the “Kennel Development By-law” of the Municipality of Colchester and shall apply to all lands within the Municipality.
1.2 This By-law does not exempt any person from complying with the requirements of other by-laws or regulations in force within the Municipality of Colchester and from obtaining any licence, permission, permit, authority or approval as otherwise required by the Municipality, the Province of Nova Scotia, and/or the Government of Canada.
1.3 This By-law shall apply to all Kennels including those existing prior to the effective date of this By-law.
1.4 This By-law shall not apply to:
1.4.1 an animal shelter operated by or on behalf of the Municipality, or a public authority;
1.4.2 a publicly-funded educational institute;
1.4.3 an animal shelter operated by a branch or affiliate of the Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals;
1.4.4 a veterinary hospital, clinic, office or veterinary service lawfully operated and supervised by a veterinarian licenced to practice in Nova Scotia;
1.4.5 a facility in which animals are placed for care pursuant to the Animal Protection Act, SNS 2008, c 33;
1.4.6 a location or premises in the Municipality where the dog(s) at that location are individually licensed with a dog tag and owned by a person residing at the property, only where the number of dogs kept is not more than four (4).
2.1 This By-law is intended to prohibit any kinds of Kennels for the boarding of dogs in the Municipality of Colchester.
For the purposes of this By-law:
3.1 “ACCESSORY BUILDING” means a subordinate building on the same lot as the main building devoted exclusively to an accessory use but does not include a building attached by means of any common wall to the main building;
3.2 “BOARDING” means the taking of custody of a dog for the keeping, accommodation, care, training, feeding, grooming, and may include for a fee, reward, or compensation at a property other than the place of residence of the dog(s);
3.3 “COUNCIL” means the Council of the Municipality of the County of Colchester;
3.4 “DEVELOPMENT OFFICER” means the person appointed by Council under the authority of the Municipal Government Act to administer the provisions of the Land Use Bylaw;
3.5 “DOG” means a male or female canine of any breed of domesticated dog, or cross breed domesticated dog;
3.6 “KENNEL” means all of the following:
3.6.1 “BOARDING KENNEL” means any premises or part thereof where more than three (3) dogs over the age of twenty (20) weeks are boarded, raised or trained, for any period of time that includes day-care services and/or an overnight stay, for remuneration;
3.6.2 “IN-HOME BREEDING KENNEL” means any premises or part thereof where more than three (3) and less than eleven (11) dogs over the age of twenty (20) weeks, or more than three (3) dogs over the age of twenty (20) weeks where the primary housing for the dogs is in an accessory building or structure on the property, are owned and being bred and raised;
3.6.3 “RECREATIONAL KENNEL” means any premises or part thereof where more than three (3) dogs and less than eleven (11) dogs over the age of twenty (20) weeks, or more than three (3) dogs over the age of twenty (20) weeks where the primary housing for the dogs is in an accessory building(s) or structure(s) on the property, are owned and
raised for non-commercial recreational purposes, but are not bred for sale.
4. Kennels Prohibited
4.1 No person shall be permitted to establish or operate any type of Kennel within Colchester County.
5. Existing Kennels
5.1 Any Kennel that was in lawful existence prior to the effective date of this by-law shall be deemed to comply with this by-law and may be maintained or repaired to the same location, height and dimensions as previously existed.
6.1 Right of Inspection
6.1.1 The Development Officer may, for the purpose of ensuring compliance with this By-law, enter in or upon any land or premises at any reasonable time upon reasonable notice where any type of Kennel is being operated or where there are reasonable grounds to believe a Kennel is being operated.
6.1.2 For the purposes of an inspection, an officer may:
(a) require the production for inspection of any document or things relevant to the inspection;
(b) inspect and remove documents or things relevant to the inspection for the purpose of making copies or extracts;
(c) require information from any person concerning a matter related to the inspection; and
(d) alone or in conjunction with a person possessing special or expert knowledge, make examination or take photographs necessary for the purposes of the inspection.
6.1.3 No person shall withhold, destroy, conceal or refuse to furnish any information or thing required by an officer for the purposes of an inspection.
6.1.4 No person shall prevent, hinder or interfere or attempt to prevent, hinder or interfere with an inspection undertaken by an officer.
6.1.5 If any individual or organization attempts to interfere or interferes with the Development Officer in the exercise of a power pursuant to this By-law, the Development Officer may apply to a judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia for an order to allow the Development Officer to enter in or upon the premises for the purpose of ensuring compliance with this By-law and for an order restraining the individual or organization from future interference.
7. Offences and Penalties
7.1 It shall be an offence to:
7.1.1 contravene any provision of this By-law;
7.1.2 contravene any condition in a Licence issue or renewed pursuant to this By-law; or
7.1.3 fail to comply with any representations contained within an application upon which a Licence was issued or renewed pursuant to this By-law.
7.2 Notwithstanding any other By-law of the Municipality, any individual or organization who contravenes any provision of this By-law is punishable on summary conviction as follows:
7.2.1 for a first offence, by a fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $5,000 and in default of payment to imprisonment of not more than two (2) months;
7.2.2 for a second offence, by a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $10,000 and in default of payment to imprisonment of not more than two (2) months;
7.2.3 for a third and subsequent offence, by a fine of not less than $5,000 and not more than $20,000 and in default of payment to imprisonment of not more than two (2) months.
8.1 Each and every of the foregoing clauses of this By-law is severable and if any provision of this By-law should for any reason be declared invalid by any
court, it is the intention and desire of the Council of the Municipality that each and every of the then remaining provisions hereof should remain in full force and effect.