(Leah Bousfield/ Rimbey Review)

(Leah Bousfield/ Rimbey Review)

Town of Rimbey cracks down on irresponsible pet owners

The Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw was recently given a third and final reading and passed by Rimbey town council.

The bylaw is an updated version of the town’s previous animal control bylaw, with the major update being that the new bylaw includes cats and cat owners, said Gayle Rondeel, council member and chairperson of the town’s bylaw committee.

Among many other points, the bylaw states that residents shall keep no more than three dogs over four months of age and three cats over the age of four months. All animals older than four months must be licensed annually and no animal shall run at large and/or damage public or private property. However, the section on the number of animals that can be kept doesn’t extend to veterinary clinics, kennels or catteries.

“There are a lot of citizens concerned about roaming cats,” said Rondeel, adding that these cats have been known to ruin people’s gardens by digging or defecating and get into garbages.

“People wanted something done about it.”

Not everyone has been in favour of the new bylaw, but Rondeel said the bylaw is about protecting cats.

“There are a lot of missing cat posters, but not a lot of missing dog posters,” she commented.

The town had been working on this bylaw for several years and Rondeel said the committee wanted as much public input as possible. However, public open houses weren’t allowed during COVID and that put a hold on the bylaw discussion.

“A lot of thought went into this, and a lot of preparation,” said Rondeel. The committee looked at similar bylaws from other communities, as well as several provincial acts dealing with animals.

“We really did invite the public’s input into this and we got a lot of feedback from citizens.”