The City of Penticton now has a new, broader animal control bylaw, and it comes with several changes.
Among those changes are limits to the number of companion animals that can be kept on a particular property.
Under the new bylaw, which replaced the old dog control bylaw, no more than six animals are allowed, and of those six no more than three dogs over the age eight weeks, five cats over the age of 12 weeks or more than five rabbits as well.
The new bylaw has been in the works since 2021, following the city’s hiring of Elizabeth Big as the city’s animal control contractor in 2018.
“There was an increase in calls for other domestic animals, for cats and rabbits and a little bit of everything,” Big told council. “When we drafted this bylaw, we kept in mind that there had been no regulations for cats, we had only been dog control. So the intent was to start educating and enforcing more responsible pet ownership overall.”
The bylaw also includes updated welfare provisions for backyard chickens and processes for getting a backyard chicken permit, provincial regulations for bee keeping, expansion to the provisions for outdoor shelter requirements, a new adoption program fro unclaimed animals, granting the city’s animal control officer the authority to issue veterinary orders for care and increased fine costs to match other municipalities.
The other focus of the bylaw is to better address aggressive, biting and dangerous dogs as well, which are required to have specific identification with the city and photos provided to the animal shelter. Further, owners of dangerous dogs are required to promptly inform animal control if the dog is loose or if it dies, is given away or has moved.
These dogs will also have costlier licence fees and fines related to them.
City council approved the bylaw with coun. James Miller the sole opposing vote at their Nov. 15 meeting.
There were some questions from council as to whether people with four dogs or more would immediately lose them. Staff stated that bylaw would try to work with owners following a complaint, and how to make it work with neighbouring properties, and that compliance agreements that take effect over time are also options the city has.
Other issues, such as urban deer or raccoons were noted by staff to be outside of the city’s ability to deal with.
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