County contemplates controlling dogs

By Stephen Dafoe

Sturgeon County – County Council gave unanimous first and second reading Jan. 10 to a new dog control bylaw that would deal with nuisance dogs and better define vicious dogs in Sturgeon County.

Dog control is currently carried out in Sturgeon County in multi lot subdivisions where 60 per cent of residents have signed a petition in favour of having control. Approximately 39 of Sturgeon County’s 90 multi lot subdivisions have requested dog control as well as CFB Edmonton and Cardiff Park. Bon Accord, Gibbons and Legal have agreements with Sturgeon County to provide dog control services for them.

Sturgeon County’s original dog control bylaw was passed in 2009; however, council discussed new public concerns at a Committee of the Whole meeting last September. As a result of those discussions, Council directed administration to do some research into other municipality’s standard practices and to bring forward a revised bylaw that addressed residents’ concerns. Council was given a first look at the revised bylaw Dec. 6.

The proposed bylaw would apply in all Hamlet Residential, Country Residential-1, Country Residential-2 and Country Residential-Estates areas, although Council does have the option of extending the bylaw to cover the entire County. Whether or not that possibility will become reality, Sections 5 and 6, dealing with nuisance and vicious dogs, respectively, will apply throughout Sturgeon County if the bylaw passes third reading.

The nuisance section of the proposed bylaw addresses howling, barking, dog bites, and dogs chasing people, livestock and vehicles.

The proposed dog control bylaw expands on the previously limited definition of vicious dogs, and proposes to define a vicious dog as “any dog which, has without provocation, chased, injured, or bitten any human, livestock or domestic animal; or any dog which, has without provocation, damaged or destroyed, any public or private property; or any dog which, has without provocation, threatened or created the reasonable apprehension of threat to another humans, domestic animal, or livestock; and which in the opinion of the Enforcement Services committee presents a threat of serious harm to other humans, domestic animals, or livestock.”

A dog determined by Enforcement Services to be vicious would be kept on a leash, figuratively and literally. The proposed bylaw outlines a number of requirements for County dogs declared vicious, including licensing the dog at a cost of $1,000 per year. Owners would also be required to provide a recent photo of the dog with details on markings and tattoos. Additionally, current vaccination and medical history would have to be provided. Residents with dogs declared vicious would be required to post a sign at each entrance to the property to alert visitors a vicious dog is on the premises. The first two signs would be provided by Sturgeon County free of charge.

Sturgeon County Council will hold a public hearing in February on the matter prior to advancing the proposed dog control bylaw to third and final reading.

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