I recently attended two Burnaby council meetings at which an animal law litigator, a published academic researcher, a biologist, a business-community representative, an animal behaviour consultant and a breed expert presented overwhelming evidence that breed-specific legislation (BSL) does not work.
Unfortunately, Mayor Derek Corrigan and his councillors felt that random Google searches and pre-conceived notions were a better basis for legislation than actual evidence – a belief that is certainly disappointing in an era in which most of us recognize that it’s both unfair and inappropriate to judge based on looks, bias and ignorance.
Attending these Burnaby council meetings, however, did make me realize one thing: just how proud I am to be a resident of New Westminster.
When New Westminster recently went through a similar review of their dog legislation, Animal Services researched options, solicited feedback from the community and presented fair and effective legislation based upon their findings to both the public at open forums and to city council.
At the same time, Mayor Wayne Wright and New Westminster city councillors, even those who may not have initially understood the issues surrounding BSL, took it upon themselves to ask questions, conduct research and communicate with residents, always treating us respectfully and professionally.
I’d like to publicly thank the City of New Westminster and all elected officials and staff who played a role in taking New Westminster’s dog legislation into the twenty-first century. Their hard work and willingness to engage with their citizens is certainly appreciated.
New Westminster resident who works in Burnaby