City ponders new pet bylaw

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June 2, 2015 8:15 AM

The City of Lloydminster is considering updating its Domestic Animal Bylaw for the first time in nearly 30 years.

The proposed bylaw passed a first reading at city council’s regular meeting on May 25. The legislation would overhaul the city’s current pet bylaw, which dates back to 1987 and only regulates dogs.

“It’s a significant update when you look at everything that changes,” community services director Don Stang said. “The most significant (change) within the update is adding cats into the domestic bylaw. It gives us the ability to control the cats within our community and ensure that they’re licensed properly and people are not letting them roam at large.”

This bylaw would mark the first time since 1987 that fees and penalties have been changed. Currently, licences for intact dogs cost $30, and spayed and neutered dogs cost $10. Those fees are proposed to rise to $150 and $30 annually, respectively, for cats and dogs between the ages of six months and nine years.

Coun. Ken Baker said he considers the proposed $150 licensing fee for intact dogs to be too high, but points out that the law was only recently put forth and is still in the draft stage.

“If people were responsible and looked after a good dog and followed all the rules, that’s an excessive amount of money to be charging an animal owner to have a pet,” he said following the meeting. “But we can deal with that when we come to the bylaw. I don’t know why it’s that high, but it’s a new bylaw that was just presented this week so we’ve never debated it until we were in council today. I just think it’s too high.”

The law would also provide new regulations regarding the ownership of “dangerous and vicious” animals.

Vicious dogs would be defined as a dog of any age or breed which, while on or off its owner’s property, either has attacked people or animals unprovoked, poses a continuing threat of serious harm, chases people who approach it or shows the potential to attack or injure animals or humans unprovoked.

A dog would also be declared vicious if it makes two confirmed unprovoked attacks within a calendar year. These dogs would be classified as “restricted,” which limits them to one per household and requires a $500 annual fee.

Vicious dog owners would face the stiffest fines, from $2,500 for improperly confining their dog, letting it run free, or failing to muzzle, leash and keep it under immediate physical control to prevent it from harming others, to $5,000 for failing to prevent an attack on a person in the city.

Under the proposed law households would be limited to three pets in any combination of cats and dogs, and rabbits and pigeons could not be kept in numbers greater than three

The bylaw also addresses animal care and disease control.

“It’s been a long time since it’s been looked at,” Stang said regarding the law. “Our mandate is to try and get our bylaws into current standards.”

The bylaw is scheduled to be read a second and third time at council’s June 25 meeting.

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