By Kenyon Stronski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Taber town council is proceeding with their dog control bylaw after several months of sitting on first reading.
The first draft of the Proposed Dog Control Bylaw 2-2021 was brought forward by the Taber Police Service at the March 22, 2021, regular council meeting. However, given certain public concerns regarding breed-specific clauses that were contained within the law — council directed administration to get more public feedback on the bylaw.
The Taber Police Service then conducted a survey in April and made additional edits to the bylaw which resulted in the removal of the breed-specific wording it contained, along with making a few other changes.
This draft was then brought to the June 14 regular meeting of council where a first reading was given.
Since June 14, no subsequent action was taken by council, so administration deemed it necessary for this bylaw to return to council for further discussion — so as to not leave a bylaw with only its first reading on the table.
Administration also noted changes to the finance department’s systems for lifetime dog licenses would have to be completed at the start of a year — and passing this bylaw anytime after the beginning of the year could create unnecessary difficulties with the financial systems.
Coun. Monica McLean asked for more clarification on how the Taber Police would identify an aggressive dog, as it could be the dog just wants to have fun and isn’t necessarily chasing somebody out of malice; and more insight as to how much barking is too much barking.
“The aggressive dog section has been refined,” said CAO Derrin Thibault. “It used to mention specific breeds and now does not, and it’s a little more complex than a dog just barking or being angry. From my understanding, the aggravated part needs to be established and it’s not something that’s just thought instantly.”
Coun. Alf Rudd then added from a position of experience.
“You will know it when you see it, and those investigations that are done are pretty thorough when making that determination. I know a lot of work goes into it, and I know we don’t be picking on innocent dogs,” he said.
The bylaw has now changed to something based on assessment and not just because a person has a certain breed of dog.
This bylaw then went through its second and third reading and was finally passed through council.