Dartmouth councillor Gloria McCluskey intends to ask the city officials to consider strengthening bylaws governing aggressive dogs so careless animal owners will take notice. While her proposal to increase fines and penalties for irresponsible dog owners is certainly acceptable and encouraged, she may also seek to include language that would restrict specific breeds of dogs.
Please send your POLITE, RESPECTFUL and INFORMATIVE letters in opposition to breed specific legislation, and encourage the city officials to pursue a breed-neutral bylaw that places the onus on irresponsible and negligent dog owners.
The next council meeting is September 13, 2011. Meetings take place at Halifax City Hall, Council Chambers, 3rd Floor, 1841 Argyle Street, Halifax
Mayor and Council contact info:
Councillors’ Support Office
P.O. Box 1749
Halifax, N.S. B3J 3A5
Phone: (902) 490-4050
Mayor Peter Kelly, [email protected]
Steve Streatch, [email protected]
Barry Dalrymple, [email protected]
David Hendsbee, [email protected]
Lorelei Nicoll, [email protected]
Gloria McCluskey, [email protected]
Darren Fisher, [email protected]
Bill Karsten, [email protected]
Jackie Barkhouse, [email protected]
Jim Smith, [email protected]
Mary Wile, [email protected]
Jerry Blumenthal, [email protected]
Dawn Marie Sloane, [email protected]
Sue Uteck, [email protected]
Jennifer Watts, [email protected]
Russell Walker, [email protected]
Debbie Hum, [email protected]
Linda Mosher, [email protected]
Stephen Adams, [email protected]
Brad Johns, [email protected]
Bob Harvey, [email protected]
Tim Outhit, [email protected]
Reg Rankin, [email protected]
Peter Lund, [email protected]
Dog attacks lead to call for tougher animal bylaws
Dartmouth councillor says careless owners to blame, stiffer penalties needed
By BILL POWER Staff Reporter
Tue, Aug 30 - 4:38 PM
A string of dog attacks this summer had Dartmouth councillor Gloria McCluskey calling Tuesday for heftier fines for owners.
The councillor for Dartmouth Centre said HRM bylaws governing aggressive dogs and dogs running-at-large, or ordered muzzled, must be beefed up, so careless animal owners will take notice.
“It’s the owners who are responsible for these incidents and not the dogs,” she said after a woman was attacked by a dog Monday at Martinique Beach.
McCluskey said she will introduce a notice of motion at regional city hall calling for increased fines against dog owners when people or pets are attacked.
She also wants steeper fines for repeat violators of muzzle orders for aggressive dogs, and wants a review of a possible ban of aggressive breeds.
“There have been bans in other jurisdictions of breeds known to be aggressive. People who train their dogs to attack or who have experienced aggressive behaviour from the dog should not be out walking that dog in public without proper controls,” said McCluskey.
She said a simple muzzle can save a dog owner — and also some innocent victim — a lot of grief when used appropriately.
A Dartmouth woman was treated in hospital after an attack at Martinique Beach about an hour from downtown Halifax on the province’s Eastern Shore.
“We have information pertaining to the owner of the dog in question and expect to make contact later today,” said Andrea MacDonald, manager of HRM animal services.
There have been some high-profile attacks by aggressive dogs around Halifax this summer, including a child hospitalized after an attack in early August, and a couple of attacks against small dogs in Dartmouth resulting in the dogs being euthanized due to severe injuries.
The basic fine for a dog running at large is $340.21, and that can be doubled in cases when there is an existing muzzle order against the dog.
MacDonald said there have been 96 reports of dog attacks in the municipality over the past couple of months, the peak season for attacks, with injuries to people or small dogs involved in 17 of these reported cases.
“This is pretty much in line with the number of reports during the peak summer period in previous years,” she said.
She said changes to municipal animal bylaws would require provincial approval.
Talk of strengthening animal bylaws was welcomed by Ted Efthymiadis, with Unleashed Potential in Halifax, a dog training service that specializes in aggressive dogs.
“People should not be permitted to obtain these large breeds without being required to undergo training on how they are to be managed,” said Efthymiadis.
He said he is very concerned with the number of big out-of-control dogs appearing around the city.
“Anybody can obtain one of these big dogs and do whatever they want with them. The fines for offences are minimal,” he said.
He said fines for dog bylaw offences should be increased and people selling dogs or putting them up for adoption should be required to bring the fines to the attention of potential new owners.
“Fines under the animal bylaw should be steeper and animal services should have more staff so the bylaws can be enforced,” he said.
Efthymiadis said aggressive behaviour can be a problem with all breeds and most dogs will exhibit symptoms months or even a year before an attack occurs.
All dog owners should learn to interpret the symptoms of problem aggression, such a nipping at other dogs or forcing them into a submission position, and should educate themselves about the use of muzzles.
“Dogs will welcome the use of a muzzle if they are introduced to it properly. They will associate it with going for a walk, which is something they love,” said Efthymiadis.
“I cannot understand why anybody would bring an aggressive dog to a public area without a muzzle,” he said.
Dog attacks lead to call for tougher animal bylaws - Front - TheChronicleHerald.ca