‘Un­pro­voked pat­tern’ would re­sult in fine for noisy dog

The Prince George Citizen - - FRONT PAGE - Mark NIELSEN Ci­ti­zen staff mnielsen@pgc­i­t­i­zen.ca

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.

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