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In Our Opinion: Baaad bylaw

Decades old Prince Rupert bylaw is in need of a refresher
The goats, Tanny and Hanny, living at the Moby Dick Inn will be given the boot by the city on Sunday, June 9 because of a no livestock bylaw. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

If you haven’t seen the most popular hoofed animal since Hammy the deer, there’s still time.

Tanny and Hanny — the mother and daughter goat duo — are getting their fill of weeds at the fenced-in lot next to the Moby Dick Inn.

The popular pair have caused a stir in town. Kids press their faces up to the fence, eye wide with wonder, stating they’ve never seen real live goats before. If your kid [pun unintended] hasn’t seen a goat before, you have until Seafest weekend before the owner is being forced to remove her beloved ungulates and send them back to Hazelton, where livestock is allowed.

READ MORE: Moby Dick Inn owner wants to keep goats to tame weeds

It seems strange that a city full of free-range deer that use the crosswalks won’t allow goats to continue living in a secured area, under the care of an owner whose heart is bleeding for her goats. While cats, dogs, and property across this city are often neglected, these goats are most definitely loved.

The culprit — Livestock Prohibition Bylaw No. 2987 — is just plain baaad. Not only is it forcing Tanny and Hanny to leave their new home, but the bylaw also forbids backyard chickens. Hands up if your neighbour has backyard chickens? They’re a little easier to hide. Despite attempts in 2012 to make allowances for chickens so that people can actually harvest their own fresh eggs the bylaw remains unchanged.

READ MORE: City asks Moby Dick Inn owner to remove goats by end of the weeK

Originally written in 1979, with amendments made in 1996, this bylaw is due for a refresher. Bylaws are made to be questioned, debated, and amended to flow with the times.

With the Redesign Rupert project and city moral starting to swell, we’ve seen more derelict cars being removed off the streets and a few questionable trailers as well. In March the city coordinated the Derelict Vehicle Clean Up to make removal of unsightly trailers slightly more affordable — at $70 per vehicle.

But walk around downtown and you can find contravention of the Property Maintenance Bylaw No. 3297 everywhere. Graffiti… how many times do we have to look at the former Dairy Queen building’s “moist” on the drive into town? What about exterior finishing of premises that has become excessively dirty or dilapidated through lack of maintenance? You get the point.

READ MORE: City allows goats to stay until end of Seafest weekend in Prince Rupert

Uncontrolled growth of vegetation? This is exactly what the owner of the goats is trying to tackle, while drawing in tourists and putting smiles on kids’ faces.

For months, years, decades even, some bylaws have been ignored in this city. After one day, the city has targeted the goats as the one bylaw it’s going to enact.

In Japan they say “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down.” Looks like the city only has a hammer big enough for this nail, or perhaps it’s time to address and reassess a baaad bylaw, and enforce the good ones.

The Northern View

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