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Go go muni commandos!



Finally, a good use of Whistler taxpayers' money.

I jumped with joy this week when I read our letters page and found out that bylaw enforcement officers with the Resort Municipality of Whistler have taken up G.I. Joe-like tactics to bust bylaw offenders. The writer said an "officer" jumped out from behind a bush and ticketed him - and conveniently left out why he was accosted.

If this is what it takes to get Whistlerites to abide by municipal bylaws then I am behind them 100 per cent. Furthermore, if increased bylaw enforcement is a residual effect of pay parking and other measures the municipality is taking to increase its revenue then I say, great! Tax us until we're blue in the wallet!

Two months ago I wrote of my displeasure with Whistler's dogowners and their flagrant disregard for a bylaw that asks them to keep their companions on leashes. I told of the foul fecal stain that greeted me on the walkway to my home; the roided terrier who bounded towards me on the Sea to Sky Trail as I headed to work; the poodle whose nose got a little too friendly with my anus.

I'm not going to pretend people were listening to me, but the following weeks brought some relief. The fecal stain was cleaned up; I sauntered down the Sea to Sky Trail in peace; I never saw that too-friendly poodle again.

I won't take sole credit for this progress - some of it most certainly goes to Whistler stalwart Michele Bush, whose fine feature, Dog Poo for Dummies, followed my column a week later.

Dummies, it seems, doesn't come close to describing the Whistlerites who can't read the local paper or the bylaws, because months after a barrage of dog coverage in the pages of this magazine the transgressions continued.

Some weeks ago I had a colleague tell me of a friend who was biking along the Valley Trail and suffered a grave injury coming around a corner. The culprit? Her speed, first of all, but it wasn't aided a bit by the mischievous, unleashed dog that dove right in front of her. Her body now bears the stigmata of that dog-owner's neglect.

What's worse than that is the self-righteous attitude that some bleating hearts in this community adopt in response to warnings.

Three weeks ago we published a letter from a "Whistler veteran" who wrote into the paper of his disappointment with an experience at "Secret Dock." He grumbled that a "dock warden" asked a young woman to get her "polyglot" Jack Russell terrier off the dock. The expected chorus of self-righteous protest followed but the brave warden didn't back down.

Let's deconstruct this letter's problems. There's no such thing as a "polyglot" Jack Russell terrier. "Polyglot" is an adjective for something that's able to speak or write in several languages. Ain't no canine can do that outside of Uncle Digby on "Dog House." And even he needed peanut butter to help him.

The writer goes on to demand respect for majority opinion, arguing that both humans and dogs crave freedom. A "20-to-1" margin in favour of allowing dogs to mount a canine jihad over the municipality's rules, he wrote, ought to count for something.

Sadly, it does. The dogs overwhelm this community so much that there aren't enough leashes to hold them back.

Full disclosure: I have a phobia of dogs. At the age of five I saw my mother get bitten by a pit bull outside a corner store and I've never been the same since. I wouldn't lose a wink of sleep at the news that you can't breed those dogs in B.C. anymore.

I'm not saying this is the solution for all dogs - as I said before, many of the dog owners I know up here are reasonable, responsible pet lovers who actually agree with me. They see the sense in putting dogs on leashes but too many owners can't take the simple action of putting leashes and collars on their four-legged daemons .

If G.I. Joe tactics by the municipality are what it takes, then I say go for it. Raise property taxes, charge for parking in the day lots, do for Whistlerites what they cannot do themselves.

And while you're at it sign me up as a volunteer. I'll be out behind the bushes with bells and camo threads on.