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Changes to dog bylaw include lifetime tag, no dogs in city facilities

Our family dog Boston.
Our family dog Boston.

You’ll be able to buy a lifetime dog license., but you won’t be able to bring your furry friend into city buildings if proposed changes to the Animal Control Bylaw are approved by council.

City staff want to change the bylaw in several areas to reduce waste, costs and staff processing time, including:

  • Changing date of expiry to purchase date, rather than calendar year. That way they don’t all have to be processed at one.
  • Eliminating licensing outlets at vet clinics and pet stores
  • Using of permanent tags
  • Prohibiting of animals in City owned facilities (other than aid dogs) where signs are erected prohibiting animals.

The savings in the 2015 budget as a result of changes in the program were $7,500, due to reduced costs for bulk mail outs and reduced need to issue new tags each year.

Initial responses from outlets selling licenses were mixed. Some outlets were not interested in continuing selling licenses anyway. Some felt the sale of licenses encouraged customers to come into their stores, but eventually were able to see the benefits to moving to an on line service delivery to improve customer service for pet owners.

Council approved the proposed changes at the May 11 Development & Infrastructure Committee, but that must be ratified by City Council May 25.

Read the staff report here: Animal Control Bylaw Update, Item 3

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington.

The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful.

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  1. While I agree with Sue W.’s call for enforcement, she is completely off base regarding the hefty license fee. Pet ownership is not, and should not be, restricted to those who “can afford it”. Typical of the hate filled venom that comes from people who dislike dogs, and unfortunately taints the rest of her post. I am a dog owner, and avoid off leash dogs for the same reasons she states. Waste bins stink because of dog waste? How about the people who put home garbage in them, that doesn’t stink? As long as the waste is in a proper bag, there is no significant smell (I store all of my dog’s waste in a separate bin and never notice any smell). Bottom line, is let’s make sure that the rules are enforced…it’s unfortunate that a small number of people who do not think that the rules apply to them taint the rest of us responsible dog owners.

  2. It is a sad day for this city when Council bans dogs from more premises. Dog owners in general are responsible in their custodianship and keep their dogs under control. Better than some people with their children! I select my proprietors to do business with based on their attitude towards dogs. If they welcome my companion, then they get my business. I don’t have that choice with City Hall. I would have appreciated seeing in the report PB-26-15 any evidence to support harm done by dogs accompanying their care-takers into municipal buildings. It smacks of personal preference or squeaky wheel. If this p[asses, then I shall be forced to tie up my dog outside your building and let his separation anxiety be exhibited in its full sound spectrum. He screams like he is being beaten when he loses sight of me. No amount of training has been able to change that over these 11 years. I supposed then I will be fined for cruelty to animals !!!!!

  3. I support a hefty licence fee, and reinforcement/stiff fines for infringements of-off lease bylaws and beach access. I do not own a dog, and object to the imposition that dog owners make on the community.
    Dog ownership is a choice made by those who can afford these pets, and this comes with a responsibility that unfortunately, many owners do not take. Personally I feel it is a sad statement of our society when more money is spent on dog food, toys, grooming and medicine than many children in our community. I am tired of stepping into dog waste left in the middle of a path, of seeing it deposited in or out of bags at the side of a pathway, and of the revolting smell emanating from the public garbage bins used for dog waste. These waste bins are used by everyone, and are a health hazard; there should either be separate bins (paid for by the licencing programme) or another way of dealing with pet waste – why is the community burdened with this disgusting task? I am also tired of being accosted by off lease dogs while owners assure me “not to worry, he/she’s very friendly”. Not everyone likes dogs, some are terrified of them. Dogs foul the beaches and are a public nuisance to those trying to enjoy the area. There are signs forbidding dogs on the beach and many times these are completely ignored.

  4. I agree with the lifetime license but I disagree with aid dogs only allowed in city buildings. As a dog trainer part of a puppy/dogs socialization process is to allow our dogs to experience all the elements including buildings. I think business owners should be allowed to have a sign that is designated to pet owners to be allowed in their building or not.

    I also hope that the lifetime license cost is affordable and does not discriminate between whether my dog is spayed/neutered.

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