Councillor requests stats on off-leash dogs and roaming cats

by Colin Smith

Morinville has a dog problem, believes Councillor Stephen Dafoe, who put the issue of dogs at large on the agenda for Council’s October 15 Committee of the Whole meeting.

During discussion of the item he stated that this summer he has seen dogs off-leash throughout the town, both on the trails and in his own neighbourhood. He also witnessed one dog attack last spring – and said it’s known there have been others.

“I’ve received complaints directly by email, by phone, and in-person while out shopping in town,” Dafoe said, adding both his wife and a friend had experienced close calls while walking dogs this past summer.

“I’m a dog person. I own two,” he added. “They are always on a leash because as small as they are – they are animals for whom territory is important. As such, even the best-behaved dog cannot be controlled when nature takes over.”

Dafoe pointed out that Council had previously made the decision to change Morinville’s Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw to include a requirement that dogs be leashed when in public, with owners subject to a fine for non-compliance.

He questioned the effectiveness of this provision of the bylaw. “Is the current fine significant enough to ensure compliance? I’d suggest not.”

Dafoe also queried what is being done to ensure compliance and more enforcement.

He then moved that the Administration return to Council with the Third Quarter report with a breakdown of the number of complaints and the number of tickets issued for animals at large (dogs and cats).

The motion passed unanimously.

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  1. The roaming cats needs to be addressed. I am sick and tired of picking up cat and dog poop off my front lawn every time I go to mow the grass.

  2. I am one of those dog walkers who always uses a leash and harness for my dog and we walk 3 times a day. There isn’t a single day that we don’t see a dog off leash running freely either on the trail, in a park or down the sidewalk. It would be nice to see enforcement of this bylaw on the trails and at the Fish & Game Park. Thank you Councillor Dafoe for bringing this forward

  3. Finally, someone is doing something!! My backyard faces a walking path that many people use and most that walk their dogs are not leashed. Then they come up to my fence to bark at my dogs who only go out to do their business and I get complaints from the neighbour about my dogs. If other dogs were leashed and not at the other side of my fence they wouldn’t be reacting that way. I always leash mine when out of my yard and not to mention pick up after them. I thought living backed on a trail would be wonderful, not so much with people not abiding by the town bylaws.

  4. The problem lies with responsibility & a clear understanding of what that truly means. This is the part of adulting that seems to stymie even the most adult adult! Your pet, your responsibility! This includes enclosures, leashing, barking, cleaning your neighbours doorstep of cats spray, ensuring they don’t poop on neighbors lawns/flower beds/veggie gardens/sandboxes & to always pooper scoop with
    proper waste disposal in your home bin or appropriate receptacle.This attention to responsibility culminates in an easier relationship between you & your neighbors as well as your neighborhood, thereby making it a better place for everyone. Seems simple enough but oh so very hard for many to put into daily practice! The responsibility is yours & any other capable member of your household who loves the pet. Mindsets need to change & ownership needs to be accepted. No amount of discussion via council will “fix” this issue until people accept the part they need to play.
    Signed: a long time pet owner who has had several dogs (never an issue in 23 yrs of dog ownership)& a cat who was leashed from the age of 2 to 18(yes cats can be leashed & be very content, it’s the owner mindset that needs to be changed)

    • Gerald Wayne Skowronski it doesn’t matter that it’s a pit bull. That fact is completely irrelevant. Pit bulls are not a bad breed. More people are bitten by poodles and small dogs than by these “bully breed” dogs.

  5. I’m curious. We have 2 dogs, one is old and very unfriendly towards other dogs. We get nervous when we are out for a walk with her Becuase if another dog comes along off leash and comes up to her, that would be a very bad situation!! So if my on leash dog attacked an off leash dog, would we get in trouble with the law for our dog injuring another dog?

  6. Does the town have a bylaw for off leash dogs ? Do they have a bylaw officer available? Does the town have set fines for dog owners whose dogs are not on a leash? Has the town built a pound for unleashed dogs that are caught that owners will have to pay to get their dog back? For the person concerned about their unfriendly dog I would suggest a muzzle to protect small children who usually are attracted to dogs.

  7. Really my tax dollars will be spent on looking at a new policy for cats? Seriously where these stray caught cats going to go? No one takes them in except maybe morinville vet! so since other organizations don’t take cats where they going to go! Who pays for this BS? Oh right tax payers. Spend money on other policy then on this shit to inquire info about increasing fines and penalties! Fuck work on important shit please. I pay way to much in taxes to live in a town of this population. Work on a better strategic plan to increase our population to lower taxes. I won’t recommend this place to others posted here if you don’t work on priority issues. I don’t want to listen to a council meeting about cats and dogs. God this better not be an issue during Budget! Or in an Operational Plan. Work on important shit!

    • Some responsible towns and cities have purchased humane cat traps which can be Borrowed at no cost for people who have a problem with stray cats in their yard. If a cat is caught there are usually rescue places that will take the cat at no cost or appreciate a donation of food. When people who let their cats roam no longer have their cat others might decide to control theirs. Either way there will be less stray cats. It is more humane to trap a cat and take it to a rescue place than have it freeze in the winter because the owner doesn’t care.

  8. i have a 5 ft fence around my house and daily have cats in the yard. Last winter I had so many beaks, legs and feathers at my back door that my dog wAs tracking into the house. I trapped 5 on my front deck in one week. It’s ridiculous. I do have a cat. Totally an indoor cat.

  9. I am one of these terrible off leash dog owners 🙋🏻‍♀️ I unleash my dog along the trails to get more exercise for him, in less time. Completely selfish reason. I do however, pick up my dogs shit( I pack my own bag, considering my 6000.00 in taxes don’t refill the “complimentary” bags along the trail), and I leash my dog when people are approaching. The fact that this is actually making “Morinville news”, is sad. I feel like our councillors could probably make better use of not only their time, but our tax dollars, peace officers, etc. Please add this comment to your “stats”.

  10. Many years ago I witnessed a terrible scene. One neighbour was walking her two very big dogs…both on leashes. Another neighbour opened his front door to go outside. His tiny little dog bolted and jumped aggressively on the back of one of the big dogs. The big dog literally bit it off his back and it was very devastating for both dog owners. I will never forget the yelping. It was a sad and unfortunate ACCIDENT. I agree that dogs and cats should have leashes. But, I do understand that animal nature can cause problems. They are, after all, animals. I don’t appreciate cat feces in my gardens, but it happens. I don’t like walking in dog feces, but it happens. Sometimes we just have to suck it up (not literally) and keep going. I don’t think the town should be having meetings that will not correct the problems with animals. They are, after all, just pets and they will always be animals. Have a wonderful day everyone!

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