In the summer of 2012, animal welfare advocates and residents of New Westminster, BC, Canada asked the city council to repeal the breed specific language in the city’s animal control bylaw. The current bylaw, last updated in 2005, automatically deems several breeds as “vicious,” and places restrictions on their owners. Advocates have continued to work with city officials toward repeal since that time, and it looks like their efforts may soon be paying off!
On Monday, May 13, 2013, the New Westminster city council reviewed a proposed change to its animal control bylaw which would eliminate the current vicious breed list and its restrictions.
According to New Westminster animal services officer Sukh Meghara who drafted the new proposal, the city council has been very supportive of the change. In his opinion, the current bylaw is inconsistent because all types of dogs become aggressive under stress. He went on to say, “Once you get down to the underlying issues, it all comes back to responsible ownership. If you put that time and effort in, you’re going to have a well-behaved dog, and it doesn’t really matter what breed it is.”
Maghera spent months researching and gathering public response to the change, and a survey conducted indicates 75.8% of residents support the removal of the breed specific language.
This is great news for all those who have put so much time, effort and hope into bringing change to New Westminster. We, along with many others, are looking forward to the time when we will be able to say that New Westminster has repealed its breed specific bylaw.
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