Just over a dozen Rimbey residents were in attendance at the open house for the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw on May 31 at the Peter Lougheed Community Centre.
The bylaw, which is cited as the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw, has been in the works for the past four years. Councillor Gayle Rondeel said that council had to hold off on hosting the open house until now due to COVID.
Some of the things that the bylaw addresses are how many animals a property could have, animal licenses, animals at large, exotic animal ownership, animal trapping and aggressive animals.
The main concerns brought up by those in attendance were about animals at large, pet owners not cleaning up after their animals and what type of enforcement there would be of the new bylaw.
The current bylaw does not include cats which makes enforcement difficult but passing the bylaw will enable animal control officers like Jim deBoon, who is contracted for the Rimbey area, to be more active in the community.
Pankiw and deBoon both noted that when pet owners purchase licenses for their pets they help pay for the cost of animal control within the town. The more people that purchase licenses, the less burden on taxpayers. With an implemented bylaw, officers would be able to issue fines and warnings to owners and also assist owners if their animals were injured or at large.
Rondeel clarified that the bylaw is not to penalize pet owners but should be seen as a way to help protect the animals.
Council will now proceed with a first reading of the bylaw at a future council meeting. Pankiw explained that enough time has passed since the beginning of discussions and other readings that another first reading has to happen again.