‘Unprovoked pattern’ would result in fine for noisy dog
It will take more than just a phone call from an angry neighbour for the city to fine the owner of a barking dog.
A new city bylaw, which remains subject to fourth and final reading, features time limits on the amount of time a dog can howl during a one-hour period – five minutes at night and 10 minutes during the day.
Owners whose dogs are found in violation will be deemed a nuisance. A first-time offence will yield a warning and subsequent ones a $250 fine and a $100 yearly licence fee.
But the trouble must amount to an “unprovoked pattern,” city bylaw services manager Fred Crittendon said Tuesday.
“Just because the dog barks one night at 2 a.m. (doesn’t mean a ticket will be issued),” Crittendon said. “Unless it’s doing it on a regu- lar basis, it’s not an offence.”
By the time the year has ended, Crittendon said the city will have some new forms ready that complainants can use to document the problem. A bylaw officer will also talk to the problem dog’s owner and warn that a ticket may be issued if there is enough evidence.
“We always encourage people to document it anyway and in some cases, we may go to see if any of the other neighbours are bothered by this and are they documenting the same thing,” Crittendon added.
“So there are a number of things we need to do to properly lay a charge as we do now anyway.”
Crittendon doubts the volume of complaints will rise once the new bylaw is in place and noted the current bylaw also has provisions for noisy dogs, just not time limits.
“The vast majority of dog owners in this community are responsible, show that they’re responsible and abide by the current bylaw, so it’s not going to be any different,” he said.