City seeking public input on changes to animal control bylaw

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John is asking its residents for feedback on proposed changes to its animal control bylaw.

The bylaw last saw changes twenty years ago, and the city says that the proposed changes will improve the safety to citizens and pets through new or reworded regulations. A public meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, September 13th at the Pomeroy Sports Centre starting at 6:00 p.m., where residents can voice their concerns. Alternatively, a link can also be found online.

“Animal control is all about balancing the safety of residents and domestic animals,” said Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman. “These changes aim to adjust that balance and give our enforcement staff the regulations they need to ensure owners are responsible for their pets’ behaviour.”

City bylaw enforcement officers say that the majority of cases that they respond to are for dog interactions. Last year, bylaw officers received 385 dog and animal complaints, impounded 98 dogs, dealt with 271 lost, injured or deceased animals, followed up on 121 dogs at large, and investigated 53 dog attacks. These interactions can result in people or pets being frightened by an uncontrolled dog, and can sometimes lead to bites or attacks. Proposed changes to the Animal Control Bylaw include:

  • A requirement to leash dogs when out in public
  • A section that ensures owners provide their pets with the basic necessities of water, food and shelter
  • Removing the term ‘vicious dog’ and replacing it with ‘aggressive dog’ and ‘biting dog’ to provide more clarity and greater leeway in enforcement
  • A new section that outlines restricted animals, based on the provincial forests, lands and natural resources ministry’s Controlled Alien Species List

Council will review the updated bylaw at its council meeting scheduled for October 11th.

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