by Tristan Turner
In a 6-1 decision, Council has decided to pass Second Reading of the new Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw. The new legislation makes significant changes to pet registration and enforcement in Morinville.
If passed, the Bylaw will allow the registering of nearly any safe animal, including chickens, pigs, goats or other less common animal companions, among other changes.
The new legislation would see all animals facing the same registration process with the Town, and all animals, cats, dogs and unusual pets, will need to be registered for $50 to $100, with an annual renewal of $10 instead of the current annual licensing requirement. This registration process would be slightly different for registering chickens, however, with a flat rate to register all animals at once, something that may apply to other animal’s at Enforcement Services’ discretion, according to Norton.
Councillor Brennan Fitzgerald put forward an amendment to keep Morinville from becoming an on leash required community to one that just requires all animals to be ‘under control’ at all times. The motion passed 4-3 with Councillors Stephen Dafoe, Gordon Putnam and Nicole Boutestein opposed.
Norton explained that the reasoning for the requirement was that all four dog attacks in Morinville last year were incidents where a dog was off leash, and that it would make enforcement less ambiguous as to the definition of ‘under control’. Fitzgerald commented that “it seems like we are creating a solution to a problem that does not exist.”
Mayor Holmes, accordingly, made another motion to create the possibility for the Town to create ‘on leash’ required areas. This would allow the Town to designate some areas of the Town as requiring a leash, potentially including parks or walking trails, similar to how St. Albert currently operates. Holmes’ amendment passed.
Councillor Turner made an unpopular motion to remove cat enforcement entirely from the Bylaw. It is something that he and Administration has continuously supported and felt it would work best, though his motion was defeated with all other members of Council voting in opposition.
The amended bylaw passed Second Reading 6-1 with Councillor Dafoe opposed.
The Bylaw will be coming back for Third Reading at Council’s final meeting before the summer recess on June 28.