Dog limit in Big Lakes County closer to being dropped

Richard Froese
For the Lakeside Leader

Dogs are to be allowed in hamlets in any numbers an owner wishes under a proposed amendment to the animal control bylaw in Big Lakes County. The amendment moved one step closer to reality when county council gave it second reading at its Mar. 15 meeting. Final reading was deferred.
Providing some background on the issue, county planning and development officer Pat Olansky said in a report when it comes to complaints, dog numbers per property aren’t usually the problem.
“It has been the experience of the animal control officer that dog complaints are not generally associated with the number per household,” she said in a written report for council.
Feral and aggressive dogs are a problem, and the new bylaw adds a procedure allowing the animal control officer to euthanize such animals, if in his or her judgment they are a threat to humans or livestock.
In the discussion on the matter at the Mar. 15 meeting, several councillors expressed the opinion that the proposed bylaw is lengthy (14 pages), with too many details.
“Can’t we make this simple?” asked councillor Dave Marx, suggesting something along the lines of; “If you don’t look after your dogs, we will.”
Councillor Ed Podollan suggested that the county, not lawyers, make the rules.
However, reeve Ken Matthews said the entire bylaw is required or the county could be challenged in court.
Added councillor Ken Killeen: “Lawyers are trying to make rules to keep us out of trouble.”
Despite the extensive regulations, one councillor said most residents comply.
“This is made for one per cent of the people,” Marx said. “Most people don’t cause a problem.”
Managing that one per cent should become easier with the hiring of a new bylaw officer. The application deadline was Apr. 14.

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