Turner Valley revises its animal bylaw

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Mar 12, 2014 01:48 pm

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Proposed changes to Turner Valley’s animal bylaw could put stricter guidelines on pet ownership for residents.

The proposed revision allows residents three dogs and/or cats for a maximum of three animals per property compared to the existing bylaw that allows a maximum of two cats and two dogs per household, according to Turner Valley Peace Officer Trever Bowman.

Residents can request a fourth animal by applying for an animal fancier license, which requires pet owners to notify their neighbours, obtain a five year license, supply their name and address to the town and gain permission from the legal owner of the premises, if applicable.

“We want to restrict it to four,” Bowman said of the bylaw change. “If people have five we are getting into an area that is technically breaking the law.”

Bowmen said the Town referenced Okotoks’ animal bylaw and found the animal fancier license could also work in their community.

“That way if you are going to have a lot of animals your neighbours have to know about it,” he said. “We want to make sure they are well looked after, properly licensed and adhere to the bylaw.”

Bowman hopes the changes will prevent incidents of animal hoarding in the community.

“We had a couple of incidents out here of people keeping an exuberant amount of animals,” he said. “It can’t be healthy for an animal to be living in an environment with 20 to 30 other animals. The stuff on TV you actually do see.”

Bowman said consultation took place with protective services in Black Diamond to align the animal bylaws in both communities.

“We are right on par with Black Diamond,” he said. “We are going to start looking at some other bylaws and make sure everybody is on the same page.”

Bowman hopes the changes, if approved by council, will result in fewer animals being abandoned and going to facilities like Heaven Can Wait in High River and Pound Rescue in Okotoks.

Monique LeBlanc, Town of Turner Valley community services manager, said the proposed animal bylaw underwent extensive consultation and research including meeting with the High Country SPCA, involving online public consultation and public presentations.

“Turner Valley and Black Diamond regularly consult with each other on various matters including bylaw updates,” she said. “While the Friendship Agreement directs administration and council to look for common ground in matters such as this, staff typically touch base as a matter of courtesy and to develop efficiencies.”

LeBlanc said the two communities will continue looking for areas where it makes sense to combine efforts and services, and possibly in some areas create common bylaws.

Turner Valley mayor Kelly Tuck said the animal bylaw should be consistent for the two communities.

“If we are writing bylaws let’s make sure they go right across the board,” she said.

Tuck said changes were also needed to make the bylaw more clear. She said the way it was previously worded had residents confused.

“It was just cleaning it up, putting it up to date,” she said. “The way the past bylaw read needed to be redefined.”

Council is expected to make a decision on the proposed bylaw this spring.

Residents of Turner Valley are required to license their dogs and cats at the town office for a small fee.


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