Opportunity for repeal of BSL in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

We learned of the possibility of repeal of BSL in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in November 2011.

Original alert: https://blessthebullys.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/opportunity-for-repeal-edmonton-alberta-canada/

At that time, the mayor asked staff to report back with recommendations on whether the current breed-specific restrictions in the city are warranted. Their research found that more Canadian cities and European countries are moving away from restriction laws in light of new studies that show dog behaviour is more problematic than breed when it comes to attacks. A city committee is now set to hear the pros and cons of whether changes should be made to the current animal control bylaws.

BSL was passed in Edmonton in 1987, and the city continues to receive negative feedback from the public on their breed specific policy.

Please take this opportunity to encourage the Edmonton city officials to pursue a breed-neutral ordinance that will promote the safety and well-being of citizens and animals alike.

City of Edmonton
3rd Floor, City Hall
1 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T5J 2R7
Phone: 780-442-5311
E-mail: 311@edmonton.ca

Mayor
2nd Floor, City Hall
1 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T5J 2R7
FAX: 780-496-8292
Contact form: http://webproxy.edmonton.ca/forms/Contact311/default.aspx

City Councillors
2nd Floor, City Hall
1 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T5J 2R7
FAX: 780-496-8113
E-mail: Councillors@edmonton.ca

Change dog breed restrictions
By Tanara McLean,Edmonton Sun

First posted: Friday, March 16, 2012

City dog breed restrictions could be pooched in the near future.

A city committee is set to hear the pros and cons of whether or not changes should be made to current animal control bylaws.

“Essentially the recommendations in the report says we can keep things the way they are, or we can take out the breed specific legislation,” said community services branch manager David Aitken.

As it stands only two breeds are restricted under city laws — the American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Aisde from restricted breeds, any dog in the city can be deemed restricted if they cause serious harm to a human or other dog.

Owners of restricted dogs pay a $250 licensing fee and must adhere to strict on and off property rules, including a $1 million insurance liability for their canines.

Early 2012 saw a string of dog attacks in Alberta — one killing a newborn baby in Airdrie.

Current Edmonton dog breed restrictions date back to 1987 when the council of the day passed the city’s first breed restriction laws.

Further restrictions and breed banning were considered in 2003, however no new laws came out of those talks.

The city’s latest report says that of the country’s 10 largest cities, only five have breed restriction laws in place. Saskatchewan and Ontario both have province wide dog bans, however Ontario is phasing out it’s ban.

Aitken says their research found that more Canadian cities and European countries are moving away from restriction laws in light of new studies that show dog behaviour is more problematic than breed when it comes to attacks.

“We got position statements from seven different groups and all of them concluded that essentially it’s more based on behaviour than breed and they didn’t support breed specific legislation,” he said.

Josephine Nolting, owner of the local Canine Communication dog training, agrees.

“It’s not the breed that’s the problem, it’s the people and their misunderstandings of the behaviours,” said Nolting.

“Any dog can be aggressive. You need to look at and be educated about what you’re getting.”

With 15-years dog training experience, Nolting said dog owners typically don’t use the key words that promote responsible dog ownership — exercise, socialize and train.

“(Don’t keep) a working breed sitting in the basement. Every dog requires exercise but there are some breeds that require more than others,” she said.

Nolting said breed specific restrictions are a slippery slope that can potentially cause behavioural issues that spark aggression in certain dogs including a lack of socializing with other dogs.

“I think a lot of the times — especially with breed specific legislation — it forces (owners) to keep their dogs indoors which causes more problems in the long run,” she said, adding that owners who have a history of dog attacks need to bear more of the responsibility.

“If they have a history of having a dog who has had issues in the past then it should be mandatory for them to take some kind of training program,” she said.

Properly training children to approach dogs is also a key message.

Ultimately Nolting says respect for the animal goes a long way, and she warns potential owners to always “research your breed and research your breeder.”

tanara.mclean@sunmedia.ca

http://www.edmontonsun.com/2012/03/16/change-dog-breed-restrictions-city-report

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