In the summer of 2012, animal welfare advocates and residents of New Westminster, BC, Canada asked the city council to eliminate the breed specific language in the city’s animal control bylaw. The bylaw, last updated in 2005, automatically deems certain dog breeds to be “vicious.”
In June, the city council directed staff to review the breed specific bylaw and report back on any improvements that could be made. An October 15, 2012, a staff report presented to the council recommended a change that would preserve the existing “vicious dog” designation in the current bylaw, but would introduce an “aggressive dog” designation for dogs. It is the “vicious dog” section of the bylaw that contains the breed specific language and designates the following breeds as “vicious”:
Pit Bull Terrier
American Pit Bull Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
American Staffordshire Terrier
The staff report stated that ”the improvements to the bylaw would shift the responsibility of pet behavior to owners,” and further noted that “animal behavior is based on training and responsible ownership.”
This is, of course, true for ALL dogs, regardless of breed.
At that time, the council members expressed their interest in reviewing evidence-based information about breed specific legislation, and specifically wanted to engage more with the community and hold public forums for input into this issue.
The City is holding an open forum on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 for members of the public to learn about the proposed changes to the city’s animal control bylaw and offer their input. The open house will include a presentation on breed-specific legislation, responsible pet ownership and the proposed changes to the bylaw. The New Westminster Animal Services Forum will run from 6 to 8 p.m. at Centennial Community Centre, at 65 E. Sixth Ave.
Please reach out to the New Westminster city council and encourage them to remove the breed specific language from their bylaw. Please also provide them with fact based information regarding the ineffectiveness of breed discriminatory laws.
City of New Westminster
511 Royal Avenue
New Westminster, BC V3L 1H9
General Tel: 604 521 3711
General Fax: 604 521 3895
General Contact Form: http://www.newwestcity.ca/city_hall/online_forms_and_services/contact_us.php
Mayor and Council
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