New dog policy raises ire of students and staff

Later this November, TRU's ban on dogs on campus will come into effect

While you won’t be able to bring your furry friends on campus, therapy dogs will still be around. (FILE PHOTO)

James Gordon, a staff member with the department of sustainability has been bringing his dog to campus for over four years.

“Students love seeing Lenny, he has always been happy to be on campus,” Gordon said. “There have been no problems whatsoever over the entire time he has been here.”

Located far from the main campus buildings, the Office of Sustainability is inside a small outbuilding that houses more bikes than offices. Gordon’s dog Lenny is just one of the dozens of animals affected by the proposed banning of dogs, cats and fish on campus.

Animals across campus in departments ranging from Alumni Services to TRU World all the way to the trades building (where a small cat hunts the mice and rats that plague the building) will be affected by the banning of animals from all buildings on campus. Exceptions will be made for animals in the health technology centre and St. John Ambulance’s Therapy Dogs program.

Recently Matt Milovick, vice-president administration and finance put out a notice of motion for the banning of dogs from campus buildings citing health and safety, cultural perspectives, service delivery, damage to property and the well-being of the animals.

According to Milovick, there was a review of what other universities throughout Canada are doing and according to the notice of motion it “shows there is no standard approach to this issue. In B.C., policies range from non-existent to a complete ban on pets in university buildings (with the exception of service dogs). UBC, as an example, has no policy but leaves it at the discretion of individual schools and faculties to develop their own facility policy; this puts the onus on the manager to determine whether or not a pet is permitted in the workplace. At the other end of the spectrum, the University of Victoria’s Building and Grounds Usage policy (Policy #BP3105) strictly prohibits all but service animals (including therapy dogs) in university buildings.”

The new policy follows the harder lined approach of the University of Victoria’s model rather than the more independent department by department policy of British Columbia’s largest and most prestigious school. According to the motion, consultations were done with “key stakeholders,” such as “unnamed senior leaders”, Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4879 and the TRU Faculty Association.

Notably absent from the list are Indigenous students on campus and the TRU Students’ Union and its members.

The new policy will affect around 30 staff members directly. The comment period will end on Friday, Sept. 21.

Upon approval of the policy, employees currently bringing their dogs to campus will have until Nov. 23 to make alternate arrangements for their dogs. The policy will come into effect Monday, Nov. 24.

TRU students and staff can email their concerns on the proposed new policy until 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 17 and can be forwarded to secretariat@tru.ca.

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