Animal control by-law sets new rules for the town.

Yes, we are “country close to the city” but that doesn’t mean you can keep or hunt wild animals in your backyard. Don’t feed them either. And, oh yeah, keep your dog on a leash for heaven’s sake.

The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville Council recently approved a revised Animal Control By-law that added new regulations concerning tethering, muzzling orders, dog licences and the feeding of wildlife.

Runners, cyclists and pet averse residents will be happy to note specific measures for dogs whose owners refuse to believe that their precious little Rottweiler might have aggressive instincts to strangers. A major change in the By-law are the new fees for the licensing of dangerous and menacing dogs.

“One of the most important updates to be highlighted in the By-law is the increased cost of licensing dangerous and menacing dogs,” says Linda Mainprize, Whitchurch-Stouffville’s Manager of Municipal Law Enforcement. “We have increased the fees for dog license tags to $200 for dangerous dogs and $100 for menacing dogs.” New responsibilities for animal owners have been added to the By-law. Some of the substantial changes include:

• Tethering – No person in the Town shall keep a dog tethered on a chain, rope or similar restraining device of less than 3 metres in length, and no person shall leave a dog tethered or tied on public property and unattended while tethered or tied on any premises where the public has access.
• Dogs At Large- No dog owner shall allow a dog to run at large within the limits of the Town.
• Pit Bulls – Pit bulls are prohibited in the Town. Any pit bull that was owned in Ontario on August 29, 2005 or was born before November 27, 2005, is a restricted pit bull.
• Stoop and Scoop – Every owner of a dog shall immediately remove and properly dispose of excrement left by their dog on any private or public property in the Town and every owner shall remove and properly dispose of any excrement on the owner’s property in a timely manner.
• Pigeons – No person shall keep or harbour any pigeons in residential, institutional, industrial or commercial zoned property in town.
• Muzzling Orders – If a dog is declared menacing or dangerous by the Manager of Municipal Law Enforcement a Muzzle Order will be issued.
• Leg Hold Traps – No person shall leave a leg hold or foot hold trap in any place where it may reasonably capture any animal, and no person shall capture any animal by means of a leg hold or foot trap.
• Feeding of Wildlife – No person shall intentionally feed a wild animal or leave food or attractants in such a manner as to attract a wild animal, feral or stray domestic animal on private or public property. This does not apply to the feeding of song birds in which the feed is placed in a bird feeding device that is not attracting large flocks of homing birds.

In addition to the animal owner’s responsibilities, other new sections include:
• Recovery of Expenses – The Town has the right to recover from the owner of the animal all costs incurred in applying and enforcing the By-law.
• Powers of Entry – The By-law authorizes Town entry onto a property to carry out an inspection.
• Penalty and Enforcement – Upon a first conviction, a fine of not less than $300.00 and not more than $50,000;

Find out more on the Town’s website at www.townofws.ca/bylaw_animalcontrol.