Burnaby, BC, Canada changing definition of “vicious dog,” but still targets pit bulls

City officials in Burnaby, BC, Canada were set to vote on a new animal control bylaw on September 9, 2013.  The council is currently looking at an ordinance that would regulate so-called “vicious dogs” by making it more difficult for people to own one.  This would mean new rules, higher feels, and new regulations would apply to any dog that’s bitten someone without provocation, or any “pit bull-type” dog.

The city is changing the definition of a vicious dog, making it more expensive to have a pit bull, increasing the license fee once they have bit another dog or another person, claiming this move will create a safer community.

April Fahr from the group HugABull, asked the city to review and repeal the breed specific language in the bylaw almost 2 years ago.  She is disappointed by the lack of research and data analysis that has been done by the city.  Instead, the city is relying on an animal control bylaw report which generates “statistics” based on visual identification of dog breeds involved in incidents.  In addition, Ms. Fahr believes the numbers in the reports, and how those numbers were derived, are inconsistent, and the lack of examination of all the issues will result in higher costs for the taxpaying citizens of Burnaby and cause animal shelters to overflow with dogs that have the physical appearance of “pit bulls.”

According to the Canadian Veterinary Journal in 2008, between 1990 to 2007, there have been 28 deaths caused by dog-related injuries – one from a pit bull, four from a Rottweiler, four from ‘sled dogs’, seven from an unknown breed, and seven from an ‘other’ or a mixed breed. Accordingly, experts have held that breed has no correlation to a dog’s propensity to be dangerous.  Rather, animal control laws that identify and target irresponsible and reckless owners who allow their dogs to behave in a dangerous manner prove to be substantially more successful at maintaining community safety than laws that deem dogs dangerous based on appearance (or perceived appearance, as is so often the case).

The motion to pass the new bylaw was tabled at last night’s meeting, and will be brought back in four weeks after public consultation.

Please continue to reach out to the Burnaby city officials and ask them to hold reckless dog owners to a higher accountability and not punish all owners of a specific breeds of dog.

Burnaby City Council:

Acting City Clerk
Maryann Manuel
4949 Canada Way
Burnaby BC V5G 1M2
Fax: 604-294-7537

City Council meetings can be watched live here. Meetings begin at 7:00 p.m.

Previous alerts for Burnaby, BC, Canada




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