Thursday, August 10, 2006

Pickering gets tough on dog owners

Maximum fine for bites now $5,000
Bylaw aims to protect the public
Aug. 10, 2006. 01:00 AM

A dog bite could end up costing you $5,000 in Pickering.

That is if your dog bites someone else or even growls at anyone who takes offence and calls the city's new animal services department.

Pickering's new animal-control bylaw stresses "responsible pet ownership" but sets some of the highest penalties in the province for those who shirk their duty.

Owners of "vicious" dogs could also be ordered to take the animal to obedience classes, and keep it muzzled, on a short leash and out of the hands of any dog walker under 16 years of age.

"I think it is one of the tougher animal-control bylaws in the province," said Lindsey Brenner, a former Toronto Humane Society supervisor, who took over Pickering's new department on Jan. 1.

Brenner said there have been about 30 reports of encounters with vicious dogs since the start of the year, many of them resulting in bites or injuries to unsuspecting citizens.

"We were looking for a way to impress on people that they have to be responsible for the actions of their pets," she said. "So we constructed a bylaw that is specifically designed to protect people from irresponsible pet owners.

"It's never the dog that's to blame in these situations but the owner."

In most cases, the penalties for animal offences will reach up to $200, Brenner said. But in cases where legal action has to be taken to force an owner to comply, fines of up to $5,000 can be levied by the courts.

Pickering Animal Services began operating after the breakup of Pickering-Ajax-Whitby Animal Services. Whitby wanted to revisit the 20-year-old agreement and charge an administrative fee. Neither Pickering nor Ajax would agree to that.

Pickering Regional Councillor Bill McLean, who was instrumental in establishing the new department, now sits on a special committee that will hear complaints and appeals from decisions by the city's animal services officers.

Other changes in the municipal bylaw include increasing to three the number of dogs allowed per residence. There are also enhanced definitions for animal noise, excrement removal and specific minimum-care requirements for animals.

"In all, it should make for a better environment for our residents and our local pets," Brenner said.


Blogger Conners said...

I don't know about Pickering, but I do know that depending on which AC officer is called into the picture, that rules change.
In London, Ontario a bullie that isn't muzzled can get put down for not wearing the muzzle...or simply get a $90 fine. If they aren't consistant, that keeps the law breakers to continue to break the laws. How can you set up laws and then set different rules depending on the officer that decides what that penalty should be.
I spoke with one fella a few days ago that thinks it's unfair to muzzle his dog in public and takes her to the leash free park to keep her socialized. She seemed like such a sweetheart and I felt bad that I couldn't do the same...but I want to follow the law and in the meantime my dog suffers.
Funny how before this all started and the dogs were properly socialized, there were no problems, yet now with lack of socialization you can see the effects it's having on the dogs.
The law is the abuser now, yet can we charge them from the lack of socialization they have put upon our dogs? If we did the same thing, we would get charged with not giving to our dogs the requirements that the need. Why not the government and municipalities???

4:43 AM  

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