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Petitioning Halifax Mayor Mike Savage

Fix the HRM animal control A-700 Bylaw that was implemented without consulting public

Bylaw A-700 was brought into effect with no true public consultation. There was a "public meeting" that was not promoted, and even Councilor David Hendsbee asked city staff how the public would react to this lack of consultation. The bylaw is fairly similar to A-300 the former bylaw, but a few things changed. A good change: the ability to license microchipped pets for life, instead of an annual renewal. A negligible change: no walker shall use a leash longer than 10 feet (3.3 meters) for walking a pet. Concerning changes: if a complaint is received from a neighbour that a pet is making noise, you can be fined on summary offence for up to $5000. The old bylaw had allowances for normal noises, ie a dog barking to greet a visitor, or to scare off trespassers was ok as long as the barking lasted less than 20 minutes. Currently the new bylaw is so vague, that were my dogs to bark at a squirrel, in the woods, during daylight hours, I could face a fine up to $5000. Also, Animal Control Officers (dog catchers in Halifax) are given authority to destroy any animal they believe to be dangerous. Two concerns here: 1) Animal Control Officers have never been armed, will they have weapons now? 2) The vague wording of "believe to be dangerous" allows these Officers more power than a judge, jury & executioner. Our city has 19,000 registered dogs (Statistics Canada said closer to 80,000 lived here as of 2011). Dog owners deserve more respect than this!
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