Changes coming to Kindersley animal control bylaw

Microchip and dangerous animal provisions included; licensing fee now fixed; service dogs added

Kenneth Brown
of The Clarion

Kindersley’s elected officials are about to adopt a new Animal Control Bylaw and one of the more significant changes is in the appearance of the bylaw itself.

The new bylaw was given first reading at a town council meeting on Jan. 29 and its been put out for public scrutiny. People will get the chance to provide feedback and concerns at a public hearing on Feb. 12 at the start of the next council meeting.

Bylaw 03-18, to provide for the care and control of animals, bees, livestock and poultry, is anticipated to receive its final two readings at that meeting.

Several changes have been made to the bylaw.

The town’s previous Animal Control Bylaw, known as Bylaw 18-11, has been in place since September 2011 and it will be repealed after the new bylaw is adopted. The formats used for the two bylaws look nothing alike. While there are similar sections, appendices and language in the bylaws, there are several changes.

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Chanell Brick, the town’s bylaw enforcement officer, said structural changes were made to the bylaw to give it a similar appearance as other bylaws that have come to council over recent months. All new bylaws have used a similar template.

She said town officials also reviewed legislation in the Municipalities Act to ensure the bylaw is consistent. Officials wanted to ensure the section on Dangerous Animals aligned with provincial legislation, she said. The previous bylaw needed to be updated.

“We mostly just made it relevant to the time,” Brick said. The new bylaw also recognizes the use of modern technology such as microchips in animals. “Our last bylaw was 2011, so we just made it a little more relevant.”

A section on animal licensing covers the use of microchips, the bylaw officer said. The term “microchip implant” was added to the bylaw’s definitions. The term “prohibited animal” has also been added to the definitions.

The definition for “aggressive animal” appeared in the old bylaw, but it has been removed from the new bylaw. Brick said the term “aggressive animal” was in the bylaw, but it is not a recognized term in other legislation and it was removed. The term “dangerous animal” will be used instead of “aggressive animal.”

She noted that the new bylaw simplifies the licensing process. Animal licensing was more complex in the old bylaw because the weight of the animal was a factor, but now it will depend on whether the animal is spayed or neutered, or if it has a microchip.

The bylaw officer said the section on licensing has not changed much, but the licensing fee schedule has been simplified. The fee for intact dogs or cats, so the animals not spayed or neutered, has decreased from $50 to $20.

“We want to promote people to still have their animals licensed in the community,” Brick said, recognizing that town officials do not want the licensing fees to be a deterrent for the owner to get a license. “We just want to make that a little bit more reasonable.”

For spayed or neutered dogs and cats, the town is now using a single licensing fee of $15 instead of a range of fees depending on the weight of the animal. A new fee of $5 is in place for neutered or spayed dogs and cats with microchips, along with a new fee of $15 for intact dogs and cats with microchips.

There have also been several changes to the fine schedule for penalties. The list of penalties has expanded and the fines have increased in several cases. Brick said the town has included late penalties in the schedule.

Animal owners fined for penalties have 10 days to pay the fine or the amount doubles. Brick said a new aspect of the bylaw is people who do not pay their fines within 30 days will be summonsed to the new municipal bylaw court. The new court allows the town to pursue fine payments, but it also allows people to defend themselves.

In the licensing section, the bylaw makes reference to seeing eye service dogs. The owner of a sight dog has to get a license, but the owner does not have to pay the fee. Officials are looking to update the bylaw to include all types of service dogs.

Mayor Rod Perkins said council members could have given all three readings to the bylaw on Jan. 29, but they did not want to give the impression they are ramming certain bylaws through without consulting the public.

Council wanted to give people an opportunity to provide feedback. He added that council is pleased with the new bylaw and if no major concerns are raised, the bylaw will be adopted at the next council meeting.

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