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Williams Lake, BC adds aggressive dogs to animal bylaw

Discussion in 'Dog Ordinances & Laws' started by Vicki, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator Administrator

    City adds aggressive dogs to animal bylaw
    By Erin Hitchcock - Williams Lake Tribune

    Published: August 13, 2009 8:00 AM

    New proposed animal control bylaws may mean harsher penalties for irresponsible dog owners and stricter regulations for controlling aggressive dogs.

    The proposed bylaw, to which city council gave third reading to Tuesday night, follows complaints from people about potentially dangerous and aggressive dogs.

    The bylaw doesn’t label dog breeds, but rather favours behaviour bans and harsher penalties and fines for irresponsible dogs owners and stricter regulations for the control of aggressive dogs.

    In August 2000, provincial legislation was created to protect people and animals from dangerous dogs — those that have killed or seriously injured, or are likely to kill or seriously injure, a person.

    A dog is deemed dangerous if it has killed or seriously injured a domestic animal in a public place or while on private property other than the dog owner’s property.

    The proposed bylaw adds “aggressive dogs†to the law, so that it includes dogs that have also demonstrated a tendency or disposition to kill or seriously injure a person; that have killed, bitten, or injured a domestic animal; that have aggressively pursued or harassed a person or domestic animal; that have a known propensity to attack or injure a person without provocation; that are owned or harboured primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting, or dogs trained for dog fighting; or dogs considered dangerous or aggressive on the basis that they exhibit one or more of the behaviours of an aggressive dog.

    The proposed bylaw also explains how an aggressive dog must be contained, such as leashing and muzzling, posting of warning signs on residences, tattooing of aggressive dogs, and specific licensing requirements for aggressive dogs.

    Impoundment of aggressive dogs would mean a $200 fee for the first count, $500 for the second, and $1,000 for the third, as well as fees for boarding or prescribed euthanasia.

    Geoff Goodall, general manager of planning and operations for the City, said there is provincial dangerous dog legislation that was in the City’s old bylaw and is also in the proposed bylaw.

    The new bylaw introduces an “aggressive dog†component, however.

    Rather than killing a person or an animal or seriously injuring an animal or a person, a dog could also bite somebody or show aggressive behaviour and be deemed aggressive.

    “If it does become classified as aggressive, then there’s a bunch of criteria the owner of that dog will have to abide by,†Goodall said.

    He noted that a dog wouldn’t be deemed aggressive for barking at someone coming into its home.

    But if it was on the lawn in an unfenced yard, for example, and came out of the yard and showed serious aggression to someone walking down the street, then the dog would be declared aggressive.

    He referred to last year when children hopped over a fence and were bitten by a dog. Under the new bylaw, that dog would be deemed aggressive.

    “If there is a potential someone in the community could climb over the fence, a child or something, we have to take appropriate steps to protect them,†he said.

    Aggressive dog owners would have to meet specific requirements, such as installing a pen, placing up dangerous dog signage, and keeping a muzzle and short leash on the dog in public places.

    They would also have to have a special, $200 aggressive dog license.

    “And if an aggressive dog is at large and you fail to do one of the requirements, there are some fairly stiff penalties,†he said.

    He said the City often encounters multiple offenses from one dog, so the City will be implementing a progressive fee, going from $200 to $500 to $1,000 for impoundments.

    See BETTER, page A3

    “The idea is, if you can’t take care of your dog then you shouldn’t have it, and eventually people will start asking themselves that question,†he said.

    Goodall said last year there were numerous issues with aggressive dogs, but this year hasn’t been as bad.

    “This bylaw will give us a lot better tools for complying and making people responsible,†added Coun. Surinderpal Rathor. “The idea is we don’t want to sit and wait to do something. We want to do it now before something happens.â€

    A staff report says a key component to animal control and public safety will be working closely with the BC SPCA and other interested groups in order to maximize resources and improve services.

    After the bylaw receives final adoption at the next council meeting, the BC SPCA will legally be able to act as the City’s pound keeper, following a ratified contract between the City and BC SPCA to provide services for the City and to upgrade the Williams Lake BC SPCA in the fall. The BC SPCA will board and care for animals captured by the City’s animal control officer.

    Goodall says the City had done a contract originally with the BC SPCA last year, but the City had committed to spending about $48,000, or 50 per cent of the $100,000 cost, to make improvements to the shelter.

    “The problem was that wasn’t enough money to complete the required renovations so that the SPCA could actually start taking our animals,†Goodall said.

    A new assessment showed that $200,000 worth of renovations were actually needed.

    For the first renovation assessment, a number of dog pens were going to be added, but when the City looked at the facility, it was realized that more than dog pens were needed. The shelter also needs proper receiving areas and improved heating.

    “The new renovations will bring it up to a standard that’s acceptable to both the SPCA and the City,†Goodall said, adding that the City will now pay $100,000 of the costs, which was approved for in this year’s budget.

    Williams Lake Tribune - City adds aggressive dogs to animal bylaw
  2. simms

    simms Good Dog

    This is a new trend that will spread like wild fire! This is a back door tactic to BSL!
  3. bullimom

    bullimom Little Dog

    I was fine with it till we got here! These kids JUMPED OVER THE FENCE! My dogs better at least growl. SO now they're saying that if my dog growls at someone she will be deemed dangerous? really? We have a neighbor that Sasha snarls at everytime he passes. I couldn't figure out why until one dya I heard her barking in the backyard and went out there and there my neighbor was antagonizing her with his little jack russel terrier saying " my dog could take you". I lost my mind and started screaming at him. :mad: about a week later i found out that he's been either going through our garbage and looking at our mail or he has a key to our mailbox. My dog is now allowed to snarl at him and I dont' drag her inside. She senses something about him and now I do too! I'll never doubt my dogs instincts again! She's not allowed to growl at anyone else but him I want scared of her!and she better not be labeled dangerous or I want freaks like him labeled as stalkers!
  4. simms

    simms Good Dog

    You better be prepared to have your animals deemed dangerous. Don't cry for being a dumbass with your dogs!!!

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