Council takes another look at dog bylaw

Once again the dog bylaw was before City council for consideration and while some amendments were made, council would like to see a few more items clarified.

The dog bylaw was brought to council after a citizen felt he was issued a ticket unjustly and was unable to appeal the ticket in an appropriate manner.

Council suggested at that meeting that the definition of “at large” be looked at along with what an appeal process should look like and the possibility of an independent review board and new signage that is the same at both off leash parks.

“What we see here really captures the feeling from the last meeting,” said Councillor Lynne Mulder.

Mulder also said, however, that she would like to see some clarification on the definition for a dog who responds “immediately” to its owner as well as a possible penalty differences for a dog running at large in the City versus in an off leash park.

“The danger and safety risks are different if they’re running at large in the park or in the City.”

Mulder also wanted to see the penalties put on the signage at the park, but Mayor Morris Flewwelling explained it can be an added expense when those penalties change and that a reference to the bylaw number could be used instead.

Erin Stuart, licensing and permit inspector for the City of Red Deer, said some of the changes they had already made to the bylaw were ones that council requested in February. “We looked around and other municipalities do differentiate between at large in all areas of the City except off leash parks.”

Councillor Tara Veer would like to see some consideration regarding the appeals process for tickets issued saying that it would be good if all parties involved could feel they were heard before appearing in court.

Stuart did present some good news to council as well saying that the number of dog tags issued each year is increasing and that the number of second offense tickets issued is decreasing.

“This shows that the penalty system is working as a deterrent for people and that they are taking action,” said Stuart.

Stuart said that while Red Deer’s first time offense penalties are higher than some municipalities, the decrease in second offense tickets warrants the recommendation those penalties not change.

A resolution passed to have the bylaw amendments reconsidered with some of the recommendations from council but that the item be tabled until the Sept. 4th meeting of council. Councillor Chris Stephan was opposed to tabling the item.