Dangerous dog complaint under review

A complaint about dangerous dogs in Prince Albert has been forwarded to the City’s bylaw officers for review, and could result in additional penalties for pet owners who refuse to make changes after too many bylaw complaints.

City council made the decision after hearing from a Prince Albert resident who says she doesn’t feel safe taking her dog outside due to aggressive and dangerous behavior from a large German Sheppard next door. Bylaw officers have been called to the house more than 10 times since September to deal with the problem, and Mayor Greg Dionne said the City needs to step in and investigate.

“We responded to that house over 10 times. To me, that’s enough,” Dionne said following Monday’s executive committee meeting. “Let’s make a rule where after so many calls, you’re not dealing with it, then we’ll take action. I think that’s the solution.”

Dionne said they’re still waiting on a report from the bylaw manager and review by the city solicitor before taking action. The Prince Albert Board of Police Commissioners has also received a copy of Peterson’s letter.

He added that any future bylaws or amendments would target bad owners, and not dangerous animals.

“They always say the owner is the dangerous one, not the dog, so we will be dealing with that because at the end of the day, citizens have the right to live in their house peacefully,”

Prince Albert resident Tara Peterson filed the original complaint, and spoke to city council about her concerns on Monday. Peterson said she’s had to use “physical force” to keep the German Sheppard from attacking her own dog, which is much smaller in stature. She alleged the German Sheppard has already killed at least one dog in December, and frequently jumps its backyard fence to attack others. The dog attack in December was not reported to bylaw officers at the time.

Peterson called it a “volatile and dangerous situation” and asked council for new bylaws that would force owners of dangerous animals to meet minimum public safety requirements. That could include mandatory muzzles when the dog is outdoors, or orders to build larger fences.

“Any time I got outside, especially with my dog because he’s (small), I carry a baseball bat,” Peterson told council on Monday. “I stand on my front step because I can’t take him in the back yard anymore.”

Peterson added that bylaw officers have told her to document the German Sheppard’s aggressive behavior, something she’s done over the past few months. She’s also said she’s spoken to the owner on multiple occasions about building a larger fence, but relations have deteriorated. They haven’t been on speaking terms since February. Peterson did not name the owner of the German Sheppard in her letter.

A request to the City of Prince Albert for more information and clarification about the bylaw report and city solicitor’s review was not answered by press time.

Prince Albert’s Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw includes a section on protection of people, animals and property within the city. It requires pet owners to ensure their animals do not bite, chase, threaten or cause damage to another animal or person, whether on their property or not. The bylaw makes exceptions in cases where an uninvited guest trespasses on a pet owner’s property.

Fines for disobeying the bylaw begin at $100 for a first offence, increase to $200 for a second offence, and increase again to $300 for all subsequent offences.

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