Port council moving on dangerous dogs

  • Mar. 21, 2012 11:00 a.m.

Port Clements is trying to take the bite out of dangerous dogs, with council giving first, second and third reading Monday night to a bylaw dealing with canines in the community. Under the new bylaw, dogs will not be allowed to run around loose, but must be confined on their property, under the control of their owner, or on a leash. There are further regulations dealing with dogs that have been deemed “dangerous” under the Community Charter. These are dogs that have injured or killed a person or domestic animal, or that an animal control officer believes likely to injure or kill. The bylaw allows the village to seek a court order to have a dog humanely destroyed if it has injured a person or killed a domestic animal. Mayor Wally Cheer said there have been incidents in Port where dogs have attacked people and pets, and the RCMP has told the village that it needs a bylaw before police can deal effectively with these kind of calls. “The RCMP has been after us for many years to bring this bylaw into effect,” Mr. Cheer said. “According to them, it gives them a lot of power to deal with dangerous dogs.” Some councillors said they were reluctant to pass a bylaw that will stop regular dogs from running around loose (for one thing, loose dogs appear to keep deer off the streets and yards). Councillor Urs Thomas said it was a “big city” attitude to want to restrain all dogs, while councillor Kazamir Falconbridge said loose dogs don’t seem to be a huge problem in Port. “We’re a tiny town, we’re practically rural,” he said. “This is going to cause anxiety for residents.” But councillor Ian Gould and Betty Stewart, a member of the public, both spoke of vicious dog attacks they had witnessed directly and said the bylaw is very much needed. Administrator Kim Mushynsky said the village does not intend to keep an eagle eye out for regular loose dogs, and will only enforce this part of the bylaw if there are complaints. Council members ended up giving first, second and third reading to the new bylaw, with Mr. Thomas voting against the motion. The bylaw won’t come into effect until it receives a final reading.