Input sought on new dog bylaw
Thursday, 19 June 2008
As Town of Vauxhall council passed first reading of its revised dog bylaw, licensing remains a priority, as council additionally looks to involve the public for further revisions.
Coun. Peter Van Uden indicated the bylaw committee was asked to review the existing bylaw to bring it more up to date, and one of the issues was looking at enforcement.
“In doing this, the committee has looked at the bylaw from start to finish, and we took time and compared it. We looked at other bylaws from other municipalities in Alberta, right from our next-door neighbours to across Alberta and across Canada. And we looked at the history of dog bylaws and how they are changing, how the municipalities are changing the bylaws due to more research on the dogs and the trend to make dog owners more responsible than the dog.”
The initial goal for everybody’s protection, including dog owners, is that all dogs are licensed and veterinarian procedures are up to date, said Van Uden, who pointed out that would ensure more healthy, safe dogs in the community. Stray dogs are also a concern, he added, while he indicated if a dog is loose and licensed, the owner is easier to find. Otherwise, there are going to be some procedures for unclaimed dogs.
“We would encourage that all dogs be licensed.”
While fees and penalties are to be reviewed in the upcoming weeks, revisions to the bylaw specifically pertained to the Restricted and Vicious section that also referenced breed specific dogs, an area subsequently removed from the bylaw. Additionally, all references to “restricted or vicious” dogs were replaced by “dangerous” dogs, and licensing fees based on restricted breeds at $1,000 were removed, noted at a later date to be adjusted.
“In the first reading, we’ve gotten rid of the breed specific and we’re looking at all dogs in general. If you had a breed that was on the (restricted) list, you were to pay a higher fee and this would lead to not everyone licensing their dog. We’re suggesting a more reasonable across-the-board-licensing fee.”
Additions to the Dangerous Dogs section include procedures for dog owners to follow once a dog has been deemed dangerous, including the proper confinement of such an animal on their premises. Furthermore, proper care of the animal off the premises with reference to muzzles and appropriate leashes, all while under the control of a person of at least 18 years of age were noted, of which council is open to dialogue from the public.
As such, Van Uden indicated council wants to deal with the whole of the bylaw fairly but pointed out there are rules to follow and consequences in the same regard.
“We are going to ask for input from the community at large for input in revising the dog bylaw. Towards the fall, 2008, we will be calling a general meeting to look at the first reading of the new bylaw to get input from the general public and we would encourage all of the general public to come out and have input,” he said, and noted when the bylaw is ready, a copy can be picked up at town office for review.
In the meantime, more information will be gathered pertaining to the bylaw, including enforcement, so council has some options for the bylaw that is seen to be needed in the community.
“I really do believe that we do need a dog bylaw and I do feel that we need to all be together, the dog owners and the non-dog owner residents, and that we can work together. I’m very strong on the sense that we need to have control in the sense of, that we need to have all the dogs licensed and to ensure that all the dogs have their shots — are vaccinated accordingly. I believe if a dog shows signs of viciousness, there should be a process to work with the dog owner in dealing with that.”
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Bless the Bullys