Trail council chewing on animal control bylaw

Trail council has bit into suggested changes to the city’s animal control bylaw that moves away from breed-specific legislation.

Trail council has bit into suggested changes to the city’s animal control bylaw that moves away from breed-specific legislation.

But further discussion at Monday night’s meeting only highlighted the need to do more research on improving the piece enacted in 1999.

The current city bylaw not only lumps a Pitbull Terrier into its vicious dog category but charges owners $300 to license this breed while other dogs – deemed vicious or not – cost $25 with a veterinarian certificate noting the animal has been neutered or $100 if it hasn’t.

In compliance with the BC SPCA’s model, staff suggested it would be more appropriate to remove pitbulls from the city’s vicious dog definition and target animals deemed vicious with the $300 increased fee.

Though councillor Kevin Jolly favoured staff’s suggested amendment that moved away from penalizing owners with pitbull breeds, he noted disturbing language that defined a vicious dog as one that has killed a human being or domesticated animal while on or off the owner’s property.

“I don’t know why under any circumstances we’d be licensing a dog that has killed a human being,” said Jolly, adding the city should refuse licensing in such a circumstance.

City administrator Michelle McIsaac reminded council that they have additional powers under the community charter with respect to dangerous dogs. If an animal control officer has grounds to believe a dog is dangerous, the city can apply to the provincial court for an order to have that animal destroyed.

“Right in the charter is council’s authority to seek the destruction of a dog that has taken action to seriously injure a person or another animal,” she said.

Though somewhat reassuring, council decided to table the amended bylaw until staff can come back with updated language.

Councillor Sean Mackinlay said it would be beneficial if the city could access some kind of provincial data bank when licensing an animal to tap into its history that could be recorded in another city.

All but councillor Rick Georgetti have shown interest in taking breed-specific legislation out of the city’s bylaw.

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