Cumberland would like to add a bit more bite to its animal control bylaw to regulate aggressive and biting dogs in the community.
Council has introduced a motion to amend the Municipal Ticketing Bylaw that, if adopted, will allow it to increase some fines. The changes are aimed more at serious cases, as well as a few lesser offences.
“We haven’t proposed a lot of increases,” corporate officer Rachel Parker told council at the last regular meeting in January.
There are a few designations for dogs that are considered aggressive. The bylaw was last updated in 2017 and amended in 2020. In the last five years, the village has given two dogs a designation following vicious attacks that caused serious injuries.
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A staff report notes that most fines have not gone up since 2011, and the new bylaw will increase fines from $50 to $100 for offences such as allowing a dog to be off leash, at large or problem barking dogs.
Council also wanted to remind residents there are other offences such as not cleaning up dog feces, and this is not going unnoticed by members of the public and council.
“We’re certainly getting a lot of complaints,” Mayor Leslie Baird said.
She added the fine is also $100, not $50 as some people think. Others at the meeting suggested the recent snow might have been a factor in exposing the extent of the problem.
“It makes it all the more visible, I think,” Coun. Vickey Brown said.
The steeper fine increases will be for more dangerous dogs. These fines were $500, but these will go up to as much as $1,000.
“This reflects the seriousness around the offences related to aggressive and biting dogs,” Parker said.
There will be early pay options for fines set at 50 per cent to encourage compliance within two weeks. As well, a person may be ticketed each day an offence continues.
The Municipal Ticketing Bylaw is the tool the bylaw enforcement officer uses when other attempts to get voluntary compliance have not worked.
At the Jan. 24 meeting, council approved first, second and third readings of the amendment bylaw, which now will need adoption.