Letters to the Editor

Why is tethering not illegal in Surrey?

A letter writer is upset the tethering of dogs is not illegal in Surrey. - Photos submitted
A letter writer is upset the tethering of dogs is not illegal in Surrey.
— image credit: Photos submitted

The picture with this letter is of a dog that has been living on the end of a chain in Surrey for at least four years.

Her name is Wendy. She has been exposed to the recent downpours with nothing but a crate for shelter. She hates the crate and is rarely seen inside it, even in the worst weather.

You can see from her coat that she hasn’t been groomed in years. She spends almost every minute of the day alone, pacing relentlessly, which is all she can do, day in and day out, for years. Her life is a misery.

Wendy has been reported repeatedly to the BCSPCA but they won’t seize her because the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act does not define tethering as distress.

Wendy has food, shelter and water  – these days lots and lots of water – so she has everything the law requires to keep her alive. Miserable, but alive.

If Wendy lived in Burnaby, New Westminster, Lion’s Bay, Richmond, Victoria, or Calgary, her suffering would be over as these communities have all banned tethering.

But unfortunately for Wendy she lives in Surrey, where this cruelty is still legal.

And that brings me to my oft-repeated question. Why? Why, despite a promise to enact a tethering ban a year-and-a half-ago, has Surrey still not done so? I have been asking this same question for almost a year now.  But I have yet to receive an answer. Only Coun. Judy Villeneuve gave me the courtesy of a response, but she could not provide me an answer.

As a 15-year taxpayer and resident of Surrey, should not my questions and concerns be responded to more promptly?

On the city website Mayor Dianne Watts states, “I believe Surrey City Council can and should be a catalyst for change and innovation. People expect leaders to lead, and if we act progressively and collaboratively we can achieve great things. I have faith in our city and its people …”

But Surrey has not led the way in humane legislation. It has not even followed the lead of other municipalities.

Mayor Watts may have faith in our city, but I for one have lost complete faith in her and her government. They have turned their backs on chained dogs like Wendy whose suffering has no end in sight. And they have turned their backs on it’s taxpayers who demand to know why.


Janet Olson

Campaign for Animal Rights Legislation


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