Gnarly new bylaws roll into action: Doggy do-do’s become doggy don’t-don’ts

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
April 1st, 2011

What does a local puppy have in common with Rossland’s ace roller derby team Gnarlie’s Angels? Only the fact that both are now part of an innovative approach to bylaw enforcement in the Golden City. 

Vacant for more than two years, the City of Rossland’s arguably toughest job (that of bylaw officer) has been filled as part of one fell poop scoop swoop of civic legislation.Following an incident that has “become a little too common for my liking,” according to Rossland Mayor Greg Granstrom this past Monday, a late addition was added to the in-camera portion of Monday night’s regular council meeting.

The result was an unprecedented move by the mayor. Council moved back in camera, just past 11:00 PM to pass 1st, 2nd and 3rd reading and adopt the new laws. The final vote was 6-1 with Councillor Laurie Charlton opposed.

Just past the stroke of midnight, council adopted a new strategy for law enforcement and economic growth all wrapped up into what it is calling The Rossland Model.

“I really believe we’re on to something here,” commented the mayor. “I mean aside from the possibility of other towns adopting this, the main thing is that I won’t ruin another pair of shoes while out walking my dog. Rossland’s a dog town, we all know that and 99% of owners are great and clean up after their pets. The thing is that 1% seems to have a real affection for my shoes.”

Fed up, the mayor dictated the new bylaw line-by-line to his wife as they drove home from a recent spoiled walk. Having just taken in the latest episode of Dogs With Jobs with his new Airedale puppy Duncan, the Mayor was inspired into action.   Already in training, Granstrom’s own dog will be piloting the City’s new pooh-pooh policy. As part of the city’s dog licensing program, all pet owners will have to supply a sample of their pet’s hair for the new K9 DNA library. Through a provincial grant from “Towns for dogs tomorrow” the city has received $87,000 for the development of the DNA library software and equipment.   Duncan now represents the city’s first line of defense against deficient doo-doo delinquents. A week into training, the dog has already been able to recognize and identify just over 40 different scents.   The mayor himself has volunteered two hours a day to get the project off the ground. Choosing a different five kilometre stretch of trail around the city daily, the mayor and Duncan will search out law-defying droppings. Duncan will then take the scent and using an ingenious invention which essentially rolls out a roll of hair samples. With an accuracy rate in training so far bordering on just over 50% the dog can then identify the offending pooch. Fines will then be sent to the owners’ address and added to property taxes if not paid within 30 days.   Should the sleuthing sniffer not be up to snuff, a new partnership program between the City and area dog food re-sellers will identify the canine crook. Special time-stamped tracers will be added to all dog food sold in Rossland. Looking, and supposedly tasting like steak spice, the tracers are literally sprinkled in the bag at the time of sale, with the time stamp attached to the purchaser’s name. Utilizing local developers an iPhone app was developed to carry out the tracer matching.  “It’s a simple test that even an old guy like me can administer without fail,” added the mayor. “ Duncan finds them for me and I just scoop a little bit onto the screen of my IiPhone here, and in five seconds it comes back and gives me the address and name of the dog’s owner. “   A progressive fine system has been enacted as to enforce the law. There will be one warning issued and then fines are allotted on an intensity scale of $10 per 100 grams. The weighting method hasn’t been without its early difficulties however.   “One thing I’ve had to improve already has been buying an Ipad to replace the Iphone. Let’s just say Rossland likes its large breeds and leave it at that,” added Granstrom.   Having passed the first bylaw in the early hours of Tuesday morning, encouraged by the relatively quick process of coming to unanimous consensus in less than an hour Granstrom rammed through a second bylaw  aimed at hiring bylaw enforcement officers to patrol Rossland’s streets. After being farmed out to a third party company and then simply having the position vacant for the past year the move represents a return of bylaw enforcement in the Mountain Kingdom.   The approach the mayor has been referring to as “Tough on crime, but not on the eyes” is designed to generate new revenue for the city as well as add an element of flair to the downtown core.  That flair might also mean fear for any non-bylaw abiding folks in town. The position formerly filled by one person, working 20 hours a week at random times will now be replaced by a team of 13 uniformed patrol-women. Gnarlie’s Angels Roller Derby team has officially been contracted as of April 1st to provide the enforcement service.   “I think it’s the perfect solution,” commented team captain, Constable Canuck Norris. “It’s a great chance for us to do some good for the city while practicing our skills at the same time. If you’re jay-walking, be prepared for a hard body check back onto the sidewalk. Littering? We’ll be littering your teeth all over the pavement if you try. And if you have to get a ticket, you might as well get it from a hot chick in short shorts, long socks and on wheels right?”   Following in Surfer’s Paradise, Australia’s path of hiring bikini meter maids to pop quarters in overdue meters saving tourists from tickets, Rossland’s arguably more painful system is expected to draw some attention as well.  “I really think it can be an economic boost to the town as well as provide a necessary service,” wrote the Arts Council in an early press release. “It really brings a sense of life and random acts of art out onto Columbia. The spontaneity is beautiful. There is no performance art like seeing a short skirted skater implanting a jay walking tourist’s face into the window of their own luxury SUV. Life is beautiful, and now so is the law.”   Officially entering the books at 12:01am, April 1st, hopes are high for the quality of life to take one more tick up the scale.   “As far as I’m concerned this is real democracy in action,” concluded Granstrom. “This is the City of Rossland taking real action and tackling the real issues in town that real people care about. Good on the council.”

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