Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw passes Second Reading

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.

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  1. The registration fee seems high; my understanding is that it is $100 per dog & cat regardless of whether they are spayed/neutered. Is that correct? I am very grateful with 3 cats & 3 dogs that I do not live in Morinville. $600 is a healthy registration plus the annual renewal. I assume it would be $100 per chicken, as well?

    I am very surprised there have been so few comments from pet owners.

  2. Pigs?????seriously??
    To town council…what is the definition of a “nearly safe” animal.

    Linda, the reason there are few comments from pet owners is that it appears the population of Morinville is oblivious to what is going to happen. Nothing like the smell of “pig, goat, chicken and whatever other nearly safe animal” poop in the morning. This combined with the lovely odour of Champion Foods makes for a lovely day.
    Oh, one more further thought….wait til it’s time to sell your home and prospective buyers get a wiff of the “nearly safe” animals (can’t wait til the next town election).

  3. There was a requested amendment at first reading that I put forward to reduce the registration fee further if a cat or dog is tattooed or microchipped. The whole purpose of registering and tagging an animal is to help get it back to the owner. Administration did not get it into the document at second reading. That addition would take the registration down to $25 per if an animal is spayed or neutered and microchipped or tattooed. Reregistration is $10 per year and simply keeps the animal in the system. A form at registration would allow the town to connect the animal tag number to your phone number. If someone found your dog, they could punch the number in on the town site and get your number to call.

    B – Administration is looking for a process to make permitting offbeat animals possible. Any safe animal is the writer’s interpretation of the document, but reasonable as the document does not go into specifics of what would and would not be reviewable by the Department for permitting. IE pot bellied pet pigs, certain reptiles.

    On chickens – which would be per group of chickens and not per bird for registration, up until second reading there was no outline of what the rules would be – coup size, how many birds etc. That was provided to us moments before our Council meeting, so there was no time to review it, which is a significant reason why it did not proceed to Third Reading Tuesday night.

    I suspect all of that to be HEAVILY debated at third reading.

  4. Walk into a farm yard with pigs. You will not want it in your back yard. Next there will be butchering allowed as well. WAKE UP PEOPLE

  5. Pot belly pigs are very clean, they choose one area to defecate in and only use that one spot. Also their waste does not smell nearly as bad as a large dog. They don’t bark or howl or whine and are very loving sensitive animals. I doubt a person owning one pot belly pig is going to be like a pig farm…keep 30 dogs in a small muddy pen and tell me how that smells… please research animals before judging them.

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