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Stirling council looks at dog ownership

Posted on April 28, 2017 by Westwind Weekly

J.W. Schnarr

Westwind Weekly News

The Village of Stirling could see changes to how dog ownership is handled in the community.

During their regular meeting on April 19, council heard from Susan Buyers, a dog fancier from Lethbridge who is moving to the community. She asked direction regarding a bylaw stating property owners are only allowed to have two dogs, as she currently owns three. Discussion on the issue pointed to a potentially new direction in how the Village to focus on good dog ownership practices and less on hard numbers of animals.

Administration told council in 2014 there was a proposal to amend the Dog Bylaw to allow three dogs per household instead of two, but it was defeated on third reading.

CAO Mike Selk said he spoke to local bylaw enforcement, it was suggested to him that council not make the change to allow three dogs on a property.

Back in 2008, two Stirling residents ran a fancier operation, and, when the 2014 bylaw was passed, an exception was made to allow the residents to continue with their business.

Mayor Ben Nilsson said he was part of the group which proposed the move to three dogs, and that he was still supportive of the idea of allowing residents the opportunity to responsibly own and care for more than two animals.

“I am not blind,” he said. “I can walk around town and I can see that lots of people have more than two dogs. This is a bylaw that’s not enforced. And I don’t know that it should be.”

He noted dogs are considered part of the family for their owners, and that he was personally was not concerned about the number of animals, but that compliance for a bylaw that works for the community is what was needed.

“Let’s get people into compliance,” he said. “And not afraid to register their animals. We can get some revenue, and legitimize something we already know is happening in town.

“It becomes more about responsible pet ownership.”

Deputy Mayor Trevor Lewington told council he would like to see a progressive bylaw that focused on responsible pet ownership instead focusing on the number of animals. However, it was noted there is likely a “very vocal” contingent of people in the community who would support the continued tight restrictions on dogs. Council then agreed to look into the matter further.

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