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New dog control bylaw for Picture Butte

Posted on January 28, 2020 by Sunny South News

By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News

The town of Picture Butte has a new dog bylaw.

During their regular Jan. 13 meeting, Picture Butte town council reviewed a draft version of the new proposed dog control bylaw.

Bylaw 885-19  — or the Dog Control Bylaw — aims to update the town’s existing dog control bylaw. First presented at their Nov. 12, 2019 regular meeting, council had passed a motion for administration to bring back the bylaw with amendments at a future council meeting, and the bylaw was given first reading at their Dec. 9, 2019, regular meeting.

Town administration then sought the community’s feedback regarding the bylaw, and they received an inquiry about whether a dog barking at a fence would be deemed aggressive, along with an expression of concern over the definition of aggressive in the bylaw and if the bylaw officer was an animal behaviour expert or certified in identifying an aggressive animal.

According to the draft version of the bylaw, an aggressive dog is defined as “any dog, whatever its age, whether on public or private property which has: 1.1.1. caused the demise of a person; or 1.1.2. without provocation caused the demise of a domestic animal while off the property of the property owner; or 1.1.3. without provocation, chased, injured or bit a person or any other domestic animal; or 1.1.4. without provocation, threatened or created the reasonable apprehension of a threat to a person or to any other domestic animal; or 1.1.5. without provocation, damaged or destroyed any public or private property; or 1.1.6. which represents a continuing threat of serious harm to persons or animals”.

Barking at the property line is not included under the definition of an aggressive dog in the bylaw. Additionally, the town’s bylaw officer does not have to be an animal expert, he only needs to interpret the definition of an “aggressive dog” as defined and enforce the bylaw.

Michelle Overbeeke, director of corporate services for the town, noted that in the new Fostering Dog License section, that for 7.4, regarding the 14-day time period any appeal against the bylaw officer denying the Fostering Dog License, the town would need to come up with a process for that. Additionally, if approved they would give notices to surrounding landowners about the license approval at a location.

“It would not be included in the bylaw though, but the procedure will be that we’ll give notices to adjoining landowners for the discretionary development of the application,” said Overbeeke.

When asked why it wouldn’t be included in the bylaw, Overbeeke noted that if it was a procedure they could change it as needed, but if it was included in the bylaw, they would need to change the bylaw in order to make adjustments to that process.

Under section eight, regarding Dog Fancier’s License, Overbeeke said people would need to reapply for it, to ensure that everything is under the new bylaw.

In the bylaw, section 6.12 states that maximum number of dogs in a single-family dwelling or household is three over the age of six months. Overbeeke said they would like to put wording in the bylaw to stipulate that any puppies under six months of age in a household must be from a dog that is licensed and can’t be “extra” puppies.

“This is talking about if you are breeding the dogs and you’re going to sell the dogs. So we are putting a limit as to, as long as it’s a licensed dog to begin with and you’re going to have them out of there by six months,” said Overbeeke.

“It has to be a dog that’s already licensed in town. So we can’t necessarily say they can’t breed the dog, but we’ll be monitoring it, people complained about.”

Council unanimously passed second and third and final reading of the bylaw, with an amendment regarding puppies under six months.

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