By Chad Ingram
Councillors for Dysart et al are considering an updated canine control bylaw for the municipality which eliminates the requirement for dog tags and registration and could incorporate muzzle orders for dogs considered to be dangerous.
“This is to do with eliminating the dog tags that’s one component that’s why we’ve revised the bylaw” chief building official Karl Korpela told councillors during a May 5 meeting. “But we’re also looking to include two other issues in here.”
One of those issues is the introduction of “administrative penalties” a form of fee that as Korpela indicated “They’re not punitive in nature they’re just made to pay for our time to investigate these complaints.” Administrative penalties are also included in the municipality’s fireworks bylaw for example.
In terms of the ability to issue orders to muzzle dogs a report from Korpela reads “This change primarily comes from an incident last year where a dog being walked by its owner was mauled by dogs running loose on their own property. The dogs ran onto the road to attack the other dog.”
Korpela said he was looking to council for direction on the content of the revised bylaw including the issuing of muzzle orders.
“In order to do that we need to have a municipal process where people can appeal that muzzle order” he explained. “So if we decide to go this route we would have to set up a committee to deal with these type of complaints.”
It’s recommended that the fine for violating a muzzle order be set at $300. Apart from muzzle owners dog owners can still be penalized through the court system under the Dog Owners’ Liability Act.
Deputy Mayor Pat Kennedy said he’d like to see an opportunity for public input on the draft bylaw since it seemed to go beyond the initial intent of the revision which was removing the requirement for registering for dog tags. Kennedy also had some concerns around clarity on sections dealing with hunting dogs service dogs and activities of the health unit and more research will be done on these items before a second draft of the bylaw comes before council.
Councillor John Smith said he thought the municipality was just creating another bylaw it wouldn’t enforce. “I think we should take this bylaw and throw it in the trashcan because people have learned here in Dysart that adhering to bylaws is a matter of choice” Smith said.
The draft bylaw will come back to the council table at a future meeting.