Town council nixes pet increase

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Bonnyville Town Council will be keeping a short leash on the number of pets residents are allowed to have.

During their April 11 meeting, council voted in favour of moving ahead with keeping the new animal control bylaw in line with the old law – allowing for residents within town boundaries to have a maximum of two cats and two dogs.

The new animal control bylaw was first proposed to council on March 14, when it received first reading. Brought back for discussion during the March 28 meeting, councillors debated how many pets should be allowed. Based on that meeting, the bylaw proposed to council last week raised the number of allowable dogs to three, and kept the number of cats at two.

“I don’t think there’s a solution that’s going to keep everybody happy, so our suggestion is to keep four people around the table happy and go with three and two,” explained CAO Mark Power.

However, after much contemplation and feedback from the public, council changed their tune.

“I did agree with three and two, but after the phone calls I got last week, I don’t know. Maybe we stay at two and two… If they’re responsible pet owners, you’ll never know. But, if you walk by and there’s three big dogs in a kennel that are left outside all day long because they don’t want them in the house,” said Coun. Renee Van Brabant.

Coun. Jim Cheverie agreed, “I walk the trail pretty frequently, and persons with three dogs and only two arms, that creates a lot of difficultly with that third dog…I can see two dogs and two cats. If they’re using my back yard than two cats is enough for sure, so I agree with two and two. That’s the way it was and it didn’t cause a lot of hardship, that’s the way it should continue.”

In addition to setting the number of dogs and cats able to be kept as pets, the animal control bylaw also allows for four rabbits or pigeons. As well, it sets out the schedule of fees for registering animals, and the various offences.

There is a new $100 license fee for dogs deemed a nuisance or restricted, such as those with convictions for excessive barking, public nuisance, chasing, or biting. Residents found to be keeping more animals than permitted will be fined $50 for the first offence, $75 for the second, and $150 for each following offence per calendar year.

Council ultimately voted unanimously to approve the animal control bylaw allowing for residents to keep a maximum of two cats and two dogs.

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