CANADA POSTS REFUSES TO DELIVER MAIL WHILE DOG ON STREETWatch the Council Meeting online on our video website here
Bill Dawson, a former worker for the District of Kitimat, got up to speak to Kitimat City Council on Monday, January 7th about the lack of Mail Delivery on Farrow Street because of a nuisance dog. According to the discussion, the dog in question is a pitbull.
“Madam Mayor, there is a problem on Farrow Street. The Kitimat Branch of the Canadian Postal Service has on two occasions has stopped the mail for several weeks. One in 2011, the other, as of the 14th of November, 2012,” said Dawson. “The reason is because of a dog at large, and that’s by definition of the code, and an uncooperative owner.”
He told Council there were repeated attempts to solve this problem but the dog keeps getting loose, and chasing / scaring the postal delivery person. Dawson stated the owner of the dog had a meeting with Warren Waycheshen, the Deputy CAO of Kitimat and Maryanne Baumbach of the Humane Society.
He expressed the neighbours are being adversely affected by this dog. The dog is not a vicious animal or a dangerous as defined by the Municipal Code or community charter. The owner has been fined by the Humane Society.
“The owner keeps paying the fine. A maximum of $100 per violation, Kitimat Municipal Code impoundment and the SPCA referred,” said Dawson. “Because the dog has not seriously injured or killed a person, there is no legal grounds to remove or destroy the dog. However, by definition in the Kitimat code, subdivision 1, 5.5.1 and part nine, division 4, subdivision 9 4.2.25C: A dog running at large is definitely a nuisance as defined in Subdivision 5 5.5.1.”
He told Council the animal can be impounded and the owner can be prosecuted according to the Municipal Code. Dawson told the Council the dog has not bitten anyone, the dog is simply a nuisance who has now caused an inconvenience.
While not speaking on behalf of the street, Dawson did talk about his neighbour, Joanne Ong, who is restricted to a motorized wheel chair and has to go to the post office via taxi and chair to get her mail which can be a hassle. Everyone else has to walk and drive to get there.
“The Post Office Management Solution […] at this time is to install a community mail box at one of the intersections on Tweedsmuir or Farrow Street. Speaking from myself, this solution is unacceptable,” said Dawson. “The Post Office is supposed to deliver the mail to my home. My taxes pay for this service.”
Dawson stated he has met with the following officials: MP Nathan Cullen’s Office, The Canadian Post Supervisor in Terrace, Kitimat Branch Manager, Waycheshen, Baumbach and a local lawyer, Rick Wozney.
He suggested the responsibility for stopping the non-delivery of mail rests with the District of Kitimat and the owner of the Dog. Dawson stated: Because the owner is not complying with the solution, he must be forced to comply through legal action.
“Madam Mayor, this mail stoppage must not be allowed to continue. Therefore, I suggest the following course of action. First: send the owner, by registered mail, a very strongly worded letter with a definite compliance state under the mayor’s signature stating that he is to secure his dog in a manner acceptable by Canada Post,” said Dawson. “Second: failure to comply will, not may, will result in prosecution under division 5, subdivision 3, 18.104.22.168. and subdivision 5, 22.214.171.124. and division four, and this is in the planning rights: Subdivision 1, 126.96.36.199.C.”
The Kitimat Municipal Code can be found on the District of Kitimat Website: http://www.kitimat.ca/EN/main/municipal/kitimat-municipal-code.html
What this means is because the animal is running at large, the dog can be impounded and the owner fined (Part 4, division 5, subdivision 3, 188.8.131.52). The owner of an animal or in possession of an animal which though excessive barking, howling, chasing a person / animal or disturbs the peace and quiet of a person is guilty of an infraction (Part 4, division 5, subdivision 5, 184.108.40.206).
The final section talks about pets not allowed to cause any nuisance to neighbours. where pets are permitted when outside (Part 9, Division 4, Subdivision 1, 220.127.116.11.C). This section also talks about how pets have to be properly chained, kept caged, or let loose only within fenced enclosures.
“This has just gotten out of hand. Everybody I talk to, their hands seem to be tied. It comes right back down to us here,” said Dawson. “The post office has written this guy and said, the only way they’ll deliver the mail is for him to get rid of the dog, or re-house it.”
He told Council there are two pitbulls living on the street. Word of mouth from one of the local residents when one of the dogs was loose might have affected the decision to stop mail service to Farrow.
Dawson told Council there is a line item in the postal carrier contract that if the carrier feels endangered or insecure, they can refuse to deliver the mail. He concluded by telling Council it has to be settled locally and someone needs to talk to the guy.
Mayor Joanne Monaghan stated she has gone to the house in question several times and she has never had any problem with the dog. Dawson stated it appears to be the uniform.
Monaghan asked Waycheshen if he wanted to address Council at this time. While he was ready to and Council wanted to hear what he said, Councillor Mario Feldhoff asked to hear the report under new business.
Under New Business, Councillor Mario Feldhoff made a motion: “I move that we enforce our animal control bylaw. If the bylaw is not strong enough to allow for continued mail delivery on Farrow Street, then we modify the Bylaw to ensure that the residents on Farrow Street have their mail delivered.”
Feldhoff stated it sounds like the dog is at large, and if the dog keeps getting locked up and the owner keeps paying the fine, perhaps then the fine should be raised. He added it was unacceptable for the people of Farrow street to not get mail.
Councillor Rob Goffinet wanted to hear from the Deputy CAO. Waycheshen explained this is a tough issue because of the limited jurisdiction in this area. He told the District could apply to the courts to seize and destroy a dog if there are reasonable grounds the dog may kill or injure a person on private property other than the dog’s yard or public property.
However, in the case the dog is running at large, they have the ability to ticket the dog owner. If the person pays the ticket, the dog is returned. There are escalating fines. There is not enough strength in the bylaw to seize a dog and keep it and the dog would still be returned to the owner.
“That does not satisfy Canada Post requirements. They are saying that the dog needs to be removed from the house from that time. That’s what we were trying to have, the dog removed during mail delivery. We weren’t able to get any agreements on that one,” said Waycheshen.
He suggested the courts might argue to restrain the dog, and they can do something if there is a breach. In other words, the dog gets loose and the District can enforce it. This is not enough for Canada Post. Because the dog is not Dangerous, they cannot seize it. They can only ticket.
He suggested they could look at other options with Council’s Direction. Economics usually forces people to take care of their dogs. In this case however, the dogs wandering has been too regular for their employees to feel safe.
Councillor Corinne Scott wanted to know about what the District can do to enforce the nuisance parts of the bylaws. Waycheshen stated the dog can be ticketed. Under the zoning bylaw, he did not think they could get the dog removed, only restrained. This is not good enough for Canada Post.
Scott wanted to know if the fine could be hire to make an owner more careful. She was told the Council could ask for a higher amount through the courts.
Councillor Phil Germuth questioned why the dog could not simply be left in the house, that it has to be removed from the property. Waycheshen told him: “They would like it removed, and then assurances provided through email or phone by the Kitimat Humane Society that says the dog is away during the time of delivery. The time of delivery can be anywhere between 9-5.”
Goffinet thanked the Deputy CAO for trying to come to an agreement because eight weeks without mail delivery was something he could not wrap his mind around. This is a Federal Government Service. “I guess the Mail doesn’t always get delivered,” said Goffinet.
He wanted to know where the Post Office was making this demand and what efforts have been made to remove the animal for mail delivery. Waycheshen told Goffinet this was being looked on at multiple levels at Canada Post. He was not aware of the policy but he was told this is a unique circumstance. The Humane Society has looked to see if there is anything they could do to remove the dog during the hours. However it was not agreeable to everyone involved.
Goffinet clarified: The Human Society was willing to take care of the dog for every mail delivery day for hours. Everyone in Kitimat should know when their mail is delivered. He asked the question: “They wanted 8 hours of apprehension, that was the deal breaker?” Waycheshen pointed out there could be other deliveries throughout the day, not just by the carriers.
“I don’t believe that it’s the Districts responsibility to fund the Humane Society to the point where they are providing customized service for individual animals in our community. I believe the District responsibility, and it’s incorporated into the motion, to put in place reasonable bylaws for the betterment of the community. In this case, we have 39 residents of Farrow that are being inconvenienced through the actions of one person, one animal and if our bylaws are not sufficient and we can’t enforce our bylaw to the degree that it needs to be enforced, then we have to change the bylaw, because it’s wrong. It’s a very simple matter, it shouldn’t even come before Council, it should be dealt with,” said Feldhoff.
He stated the District writes and enforces a reasonable bylaw and this motion should do just that. If the Post Office has a problem with this, it is their issue. The motion was called and carried.