New bylaw focuses on responsible dog ownership

September 6, 2017

New bylaw focuses on responsible dog ownership

Nearly 2,000 residents provided input into the County’s new Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw (37-2017), approved by Council on September 5, 2017. The new bylaw focuses on owner responsibilities through incentives and enforcement. There are currently over 13,000 dogs licensed in Strathcona County.

“For many people, a dog is an important member of their family. This bylaw is an excellent example of how we can reward positive dog ownership, while ensuring the rest of the community’s needs are respected,” says Mayor Roxanne Carr. “On behalf of Council, I’d like to thank the thousands of residents who provided ideas and input into this bylaw.”

Beginning last November, residents shared thoughts through surveys and public workshops about responsible dog ownership as part of the County’s examination of its current Dog Control Bylaw (85-2006), which has been in place since 2006. Public engagement explored a number of topics, including dog licensing, enforcement, over-limit permits as well as encouraging respondents to share their descriptions of nuisance and/or aggressive dog concerns.  In addition, Administration reviewed similar dog control bylaws and best practices, including dog licence renewal processes, from communities across Canada.

The new bylaw features incentives to promote responsible dog ownership. For example, to assist officers in returning dogs to their homes, owners who microchip their dogs will receive a dog licence fee waiver for one year. In addition, owners who complete a recognized dog-training course will also be eligible for a fee waiver for one year. Owners who microchip and complete a dog training course in the same year will be eligible to have their dog licensing fees waived for two years.

Public feedback also provided clear direction on raising fines for repeated offences, such as failing to supervise and maintain control of a dog in an off-leash area, failure to remove defecation when off the owner’s property, excessive dog barking and leaving a dog in distress. Under the new bylaw, in most cases, offences start at $100 and are doubled for a second offence in the same year. The fine doubles again for the third (or more) occurrence of the same offence in the same year. Serious offences such as dog attacks, bites and injury result in mandatory court appearances.

The new bylaw increases the dog limit from two to three dogs for properties up to five acres in size, and five dogs for properties over five acres in size before an over-limit permit is required. A summary of considerations for an over-limit permit application is also included in the new bylaw.

As part of public safety, owners of dogs deemed dangerous have new requirements including mandatory microchipping and obtaining insurance to cover injuries caused by a dangerous dog.

There is also a new ability for residents to appeal decisions through the General Appeals Review Committee, made up of citizens who evaluate whether an Enforcement Services decision is in line with community views on the presented facts.

The new bylaw comes into effect as of January 1, 2018. As a reminder, dog licences are valid from March 31 – March 31 each year. 

More information or call 780-464-8092 to request a copy of the Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw.

Set in the centre of Alberta’s energy and agricultural heartland, Strathcona County is a thriving, successful and vibrant community of over 98,000 residents. Strathcona County is made up of the urban area of Sherwood Park and a large adjacent rural area of farms, acreages and smaller hamlets. It is home to 75 per cent of refining in Western Canada. With a focus on economic, governance, social, cultural and environmental sustainability, Strathcona County is committed to balancing the unique needs of its diverse community.

 

- 30 -

Contact:
Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595