New rules for Sturgeon County dog owners

By Staff

Sturgeon County – The bite got a little sharper for Sturgeon County dog owners after County Council passed third reading of an amended Dog Bylaw. The new bylaw seeks to create safer neighbourhoods and walking trails within Sturgeon County.

Bylaw 1269/11 now applies to all multi-lot subdivisions, hamlets and country residential areas within Sturgeon County, and requires dog owners in these areas to obtain a license for their dogs from the Sturgeon County office in Morinville.

The dog control bylaw expands on the previously limited definition of vicious dogs, and defines 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 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.

Owners of dogs deemed vicious could face fines between $500 and $2,500 depending on offences related to failing to control their animal.

But vicious dogs are not the only animal the County is looking to better control. Nuisance dogs are also part of the new bylaw. Under Bylaw 1269/11, a nuisance dog is defined as one that howls or barks excessively, bites, attempts to bite, barks at, chases any person, domestic animal, or livestock or does any other act which causes harm, damage, or injury to another person, domestic animal or livestock. Fines under the nuisance section range from $300 to $1,000.

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