Dog owners chew on bylaw

Some dog owners are raising concerns about how bad their pet’s behaviour must be before it’s declared dangerous under the City of Red Deer’s proposed dog bylaw.

Dog

Some dog owners are raising concerns about how bad their pet’s behaviour must be before it’s declared dangerous under the City of Red Deer’s proposed dog bylaw.

More than 15 individuals dropped by Tuesday’s open house at Bower Ponds so they could comment on the bylaw, which for the first time will address aggressive dogs.

Ashley Smith of Red Deer said she wonders about those “simple instances” that can occur between dogs.

“Two dogs will fight,” she said.

Under the proposed bylaw, which could be approved by council on June 29, an owner of a dog or aggressive dog is guilty of an offence when that dog displays threatening behaviour on or off its property.

This behaviour is defined as creating “reasonable apprehension of a threat, including growling, lunging, snarling or chasing in a menacing fashion.”

Donna Dee, a dog trainer who has a standard poodle and a border collie of her own, fears some people may seek charges when it’s not warranted.

“If it shows any aggressive move towards somebody, you can be charged,” Dee said. “If someone is coming past a property (where a dog lives), it’s pretty normal for a dog to bark and maybe snarl and maybe look threatening.”

Dee does support increased penalties.

“It’s a privilege to own a dog, so if you don’t have a licence you should be fined.”

Duane Thomas, director of enforcement services for Alberta Animal Services, said he’s wanted an aggressive dog section for a long time.

Right now, to label any dog dangerous must be heard by a judge, he said.

“I think we’ve only had one case in the last 10 years where we’ve actually had a declaration under the provincial Dangerous Dogs Act,” Thomas said. “The act is old too. Penalties for not abiding is $5 a day. It’s not really enforceable.”

The city’s Inspections and Licensing manager will decide whether a dog is aggressive based on written statements of an animal control officer.

Bylaw research co-ordinator Jennifer Smith said visitors support the city’s plans to revise the existing 22-year-old bylaw so it’s more in line with other municipalities.

Smith said people are generally pleased the city is cracking down on aggressive dogs.

A key concern is what will constitute an aggressive dog, she said.

“It’s important for people to know that if your dog barks at someone, that’s not necessarily an aggressive dog,” Smith said.

But if the dog attacks another dog or a person, this bylaw would give the city measures to declare the animal aggressive, she added.

Public comments will be received until Friday on the proposed bylaw, which is on hand at www.reddeer.ca/inspections. Feedback can be given online, via email at inspections@reddeer.ca or by phone at 403-342-8190.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Sunny weather improves farmers’ prospects

A harvester kicking up dust. It’s a picture that will bring a… Continue reading

Rural transit pilot project being considered

Penhold, Innisfail and Red Deer County councils to decide whether to go ahead with project

Red Deer fire station up for sale

Home sweet home at Fire Station 4

Most surveyed Innisfail residents give urban chickens the thumbs up

Town of Innisfail will discuss whether to allow backyard chickens on Monday

‘Mom I’m in trouble:’ Canadian, Brit face 10 years in jail for alleged graffiti

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — The mother of a Canadian who was arrested… Continue reading

Coyote on the prowl near Penhold

This coyote was out on the prowl in a field just west… Continue reading

Sky’s the limit as Calgary opens testing area for drones and new technologies

CALGARY — The sky’s the limit as the city of Calgary opens… Continue reading

Hi Mickey, ‘Bye Mickey: 6 Disney parks on 2 coasts in 1 day

ORLANDO, Fla. — Heather and Clark Ensminger breathed sighs of relief when… Continue reading

Court weighs ‘Apprentice’ hopeful’s suit versus Trump

NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s lawyers hope to persuade an appeals… Continue reading

StarKist admits fixing tuna prices, faces $100 million fine

SAN FRANCISCO — StarKist Co. agreed to plead guilty to a felony… Continue reading

Annual pace of inflation slows to 2.2 per cent in September: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA — The annual pace of inflation slowed more than expected in… Continue reading

Jury finds Calgary couple guilty in 2013 death of toddler son

CALGARY — A jury has convicted a Calgary couple in the death… Continue reading

Most Read