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Dog bylaw blues: County hears ideas about possible changes to bylaw

Posted on January 24, 2017 by Sunny South News

By Stan Ashbee
Sunny South News

County resident discusses county’s Dog Bylaw #1167
At a recent Lethbridge County council meeting held Jan. 18, a county resident appeared before council to discuss the current county Dog Bylaw #1167, for the purpose of regulating and controlling animals within the county.
Lynn Doratty presented a few ideas and suggestions in regards to the bylaw, specifically changes to Section 2.5 — Dog Fanciers Licence — to exclude the requirement for canines to be 1,000 feet from the nearest neighbour and exclude the requirement canines must be for the purpose of breeding or showing, according to a report submitted to council for consideration.
“Currently, the county bylaw allows two dogs over three months old per household, unless the homeowner obtains a fanciers licence, in which case after four dogs are permitted, but must be purebred or registered dogs. Primarily for the purpose of breeding or showing, provided that such facilities are not within 1,000 feet from the nearest residents. This is the section I wish to offer change,” said Doratty, during her presentation to council.
Many dogs today, Doratty added, are not always purebred or registered.
“Rescuing and adopting shelter dogs is becoming quite favourable in society today. I believe we have an over-population of dogs in shelters and by stating in this current bylaw a fanciers licence be given for breeding and showing could compound and promote more unnecessary breeding and over-population,” Doratty explained.
Doratty said she would like to encourage a separate licence for the breeding of any dogs with a fee to help limit the over-population of dogs.
“Many homeowners apply for a fanciers licence for many different reasons. A relative has passed on or can no longer care for their pet. Some foster dogs must have a suitable home, when found and some find stray dogs, in which owners are never found and shelters are too full of capacity and can’t take anymore dogs at that time. Whatever the reason, many homeowners today acquire more than two dogs to add to their family,” she said.
Another part of the bylaw, Doratty said, restricts the fanciers licence to be 1,000 feet from the nearest resident.
“Many of us in the county — in the hamlets and county subdivisions listed in Section E — cannot even comply with this, as those of us are within the 1,000 feet of each other,” she said.
Doratty offered council the suggestion of two dogs per household in the county and residents to acquire a fanciers licence in the following manner: up to five dogs for under one acre, up to six dogs for one acre plus, excluding the breeding, registered or 1,000 feet from the nearest residents.
In the report, it was stated, Doratty also wanted to discuss items not addressed in the bylaw.
One example included an “Unsuitable Pet Owner” section, which describes an abusive owner inhumanely treating an animal or lacks caring for it by improperly or inadequately providing the minimum four basic needs for nutritional, environmental, maintenance and behavioural necessities, and resulting repercussions for such behaviour.
According to the report, the Emergency Services Committee is currently in the process of reviewing the county’s dog bylaw.
Council passed the motion to receive Doratty’s presentation for information and further Bylaw #1167 be referred back to the Emergency Services Committee with a report to be brought back to a future council meeting with recommendations to upgrade the bylaw to reflect present day realities.

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