Man’s Best Friend: Family Member or Property?

Most of us consider our pets as members of the family, but under common law, dogs are classified as personal property.

When a well-meaning citizen picks up what they think may be a “stray” dog, they are in fact taking possession of another person’s property.

Only an Dog Control Officer appointed by the City or Regional District, or a Peace Officer, is authorized to seize a dog.

If you see a dog at large (running loose):

  • Call Dog Control – our licence database can help quickly reunite the dog with its rightful owner, thereby avoiding impound and boarding fees.
  • If you are able to capture and hold the dog, please do not delay calling Dog Control – the dog’s owner is likely searching for their beloved family member and would appreciate knowing where their dog is.

If you see a dog in distress:

  • Ask nearby stores to page their customers
  • Call the BC SPCA Animal Cruelty Hotline
  • Call your local Animal or Dog Control
  • Contact your local Police

If you encounter a problem with a dog (aggression, excessive barking, etc):