The City of Penticton has taken steps to tighten up rules regulating the licensing and control of dogs in the municipality, particularly in regards to aggressive or dangerous dogs.
City council voted unanimously last week to rewrite the municipality’s dog bylaws while adding new fines for infractions or increasing old fines.
The changes come after Coun. Dan Albas brought forward a story of a postal worker who was apparently bitten by an inadequately restrained aggressive dog, which had attacked him on several other occasions.
The worker tried to use the city’s dog bylaws in a lawsuit but it was thrown out of court, said Albas, because the bylaws were poorly written and unclear, “not properly defining what an attack is.”
Council directed staff to amend the bylaws to make them similar in effect to the Regional District of Central Okanagan dog regulations. However, city clerk Cathy Ingram found it would be easier to create new rules, instead of making several changes to the old one.
Ingram said the city has also taken steps to inform postal workers what information they need to provide when reporting an attack.
“We have spelled out specifically what we need: location of the incident; a description of the dog; the time of the incident; any bystanders; and a general description of injuries and the severity,” said Ingram.
The city’s dog bylaw phone number will also be posted on the city’s website.
“I am glad to see that we have tightened up the bylaws,” said Albas. “I think that will allow a good civil process to happen.”
The city will now have fines for various infractions such as $100 for not failing to control one’s dog on one’s own property or $200 on someone else’s property. Failing to leash a dog while not on your property or in a dog park will now bring a $100 fine. Most of the old fines for offences, such as not having a valid dog licence, will be going up by $25. A ticket for not picking up after a dog will now cost $100, while failing to control a dangerous dog will cost $250. The biggest jump will be for attacks, going from a $200 fine to a $500 one.