The City of Castlegar is planning on giving its animal control bylaw more teeth.
An updated bylaw has passed three readings at the Jan. 18 city council meeting, with final adoption expected in the coming weeks.
The new bylaw was developed by council and staff after in-depth consultation with the local SPCA.
The new bylaw steers clear of singling out any specific dog breeds by using a new three-tiered approach to defining problem animals — aggressive dog, vicious dog and dangerous dog. Each category has a different set of fees and care expectations.
An aggressive dog is one that has shown or displayed aggression. An animal control officer (ACO) would deem the dog aggressive if they believe the dog is likely to cause injury to a person or domesticated animal based on repeated aggressive behaviour or if the dog has without provocation caused a non-serious injury.
Aggressive dogs must be secured by collar and leash (maximum one meter) and muzzled and on leash in off-leash areas in the city. The registration fee for aggressive dogs is $100 annually.
Fees for spayed/neutered dogs that do not fall into one of the restricted categories are $25 annually and non-spayed/neutered dogs are $75.
A vicious dog is one that has, without provocation, caused a serious injury, has a known tendency to attack, has on more than one occasion caused a minor injury or has, while running at large, aggressively pursued or harassed someone.
Vicious dogs must be kept on leash, not allowed in off-leash areas, muzzled when not on owner’s property, warning signs must be posted where the dog is kept and it must be securely confined indoors or in an outdoor enclosure. The registration fee is $200 annually.
A dangerous dog is one that has killed or caused serious injury to a person or that an ACO has grounds to believe it will likely kill or seriously injure a person, has killed or seriously injured an animal or has previously been deemed a viscious dog.
Requirements for dangerous dogs are numerous and the city’s director of corporate services Tracy Butler explains that this is the level where police or courts may be involved.
“You find mostly when you get to this level, that people are considering whether they need to re-home the dog or have the dog destroyed,” said Butler.
Dangerous dogs fees are $500 annually.
The bylaw also lays out minimum standards of care for animals including things like clean water, food, excersise, shelter for outdoor animals, and veterinary care.
Beginning in 2022, cats will need to be registered. Cats over the age of six months are not allowed to be at large unless they are spayed/neutered.
Requirements for keeping bees and chickens are also included in the new bylaw.
A full copy of the bylaw can be found in the Jan. 18 city council agenda package at castlegar.ca.