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Airdrie, Alberta, Canada: Council Dismisses Pit Bull Ban


The City of Airdrie has no interest in banning pitbulls.

That’s the message the crowd, which packed council chambers on Jan. 19, heard.

The discussion was prompted by a letter sent to council urging the breed be banned, which followed on the heels of a fatal pitbull attack of another dog that took place in Stonegate on Dec. 11, 2015.

Council did not support the suggestion of banning pitbulls, instead unanimously stating dog attacks are the result of irresponsible pet ownership and aren’t breed specific.

The original correspondence motivated four letters against a ban and an additional one in favour.

“I would like to ban irresponsible pet ownership,†said Councillor Allan Hunter.

Deputy Mayor Darrell Belyk agreed.

“It’s an age old debate. It’s either the dog or the owner and most of the times it’s the owner,†he said.

Councillor Ron Chapman explained his son was attacked by a pitbull at an off-leash dog park last year, nevertheless, he is not in favour of banning the breed.

“I asked [my son} what he thought about this and he said, ‘It’s not the dog’... and I agree,†said Chapman. “It’s not the breed.â€

Some pitbull enthusiasts spoke in favour of their beloved breed.

Rhonda Labas, canine behaviour modification specialist and owner of Airdrie’s Four on the Floor, a pet services business, urged council to think about ways to educate the public on responsible dog ownership.

“Here in Airdrie there’s a lot of dog issues, whether its pitbulls, the dog park, barking,†said Labas, adding she would like to work with the City to help educate the public on proper dog safety.

The City is working on the Animal Control Bylaw, the draft form of which includes vicious dog provisions.

The controversial bylaw has sparked numerous debates and public engagement sessions over the past year.

It is scheduled to be brought to council sometime this spring.

Mark Locking, the City’s director of Community Safety and Corporate Properties, said the City doesn’t have a way of educating the public on canine safety.

He added City staff often consult with colleagues from the City of Calgary in the occurrence of a major dog attack.

Councillor Candice Kolson agreed the Animal Control Bylaw will help the situation, but wanted to see a larger education component incorporated into it.

“We’re making some great headway with our Animal Control Bylaw,†she said.

“I want to make sure it’s not lost on our bylaw department that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to deal with people at the dog park when their dogs are not under their control.â€

She made the motion that City staff return to council with more information on dog safety at a later date.