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Passage of proposed pet bylaw held up by licensing concerns

Posted on July 2, 2021 by Maple Creek

A proposed pet bylaw to provide for the restraining, regulating and pounding of pets and dangerous animals is to be reviewed.
The bylaw passed its first reading at Town Council, but failed to make it past the second reading.
While it garnered support, the issue of licensing caused concern.
Councillor Betty Abbott believed there should be “one and done” registration rather than an annual licensing requirement.
She said this would reduce administration and lead to more pet registrations.
Her arguments won backing, with Councillor Cara Teichroeb supportive of people having the option of “one and done” registration.
Mayor and Council agreed to halt the passage of the bylaw after a first reading so that the licensing issue could be addressed.
At the start of the debate on June 8, Councillor Len Barkman said he liked what he saw in the bylaw, however he sought clarity over enforcement and deployment of regulations.
He asked what action he should take if a dog ran loose in his back yard or a cat jumped over the fence and caused a mess in his garden.
“How do residents deal with these things, where do they go? Is there a process that needs to be followed?”
Gary Schlageter, chief administrative officer, said nothing was set out in the bylaw, although fines were listed at the back.
Michelle McKenzie, the Mayor of Maple Creek, said people with a grievance about an animal should phone the Town Office and fill out a complaint form so the matter could be investigated.
Councillor Barkman wondered whether there was an option for live traps.
Councillor Teichroeb, chairperson of the Protective Services Committee, said there was nothing in the bylaw authorizing residents to live trap and bring in trapped animals.
Live trapping could end in litigation if someone entered another person’s property, she said.
“We don’t want to encourage someone to trap someone else’s animal.”
She said complaints should be addressed by a bylaw officer, who would go through appropriate steps. One of these steps was communication with parties involved.
Councillor Barkman said the Town had a problem with cats running around. It was a tough issue to solve.
“How do you deal with it?” he asked.
Councillor Teichroeb pointed out there was a pound in the Parks building.
However, the goal was to never get to the point of putting animals there.
“The bylaw shows the boundaries we need to work within,” she said, adding that education about keeping cats and dogs spayed and neutered, and stopping them from straying was key to having pet-friendly neighbourhoods and good neighbourly relations.
After the bylaw stalled at the second reading, McKenzie said it would be referred to Councillor Teichroeb’s portfolio.

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