North Island Gazette file photo of Port Hardy council.

Port Hardy to look at making changes to outdated animal control bylaw

Staff will be looking into changes to the bylaw and bringing it back to council for discussion.

The District of Port Hardy says it will be reviewing its animal control bylaw in the near future.

Port Hardy council received a written request from resident Sherri Carew at their March 23 meeting, asking the district to take a serious look at the wording used in its animal control bylaw.

According to Carew’s letter, she wrote in because she would like to see a wording change to “one of the animal control bylaws on your books.”

She noted the part of the bylaw in question is the one that reads, “No person shall own more than three dogs and three cats unless they are licensed as a cattery or dog kennel.”

Carew added this bylaw is causing problems in her neighbourhood, as it “basically allows that if there are two people in the household, then there can be six dogs and six cats on the premises. If there are six people in the household then there can be 18 dogs and 18 cats on the premises and so on… I would hazard a guess that it was never meant to read exactly that way because I am pretty sure that no one would be happy to accept that many animal sat any home in a residential area and have it be legal.”

Carew then requested for council to “please consider changing the wording to be more limiting for residential areas. Most people here have always believed it is a maximum of three dogs per household not per person and if beyond that then needs to be kennels either hobby or commercial with applicable bylaws enforced.”

“What’s council’s wishes on how we move forward?” asked Mayor Dennis Dugas at the meeting.

“I thought I would move that we refer this to staff for a report, and at that point when the report comes back that we have the discussion,” said Coun. Fred Robertson.

Ross Blackwell, Port Hardy’s Director of Corporate & Development Services, jumped into the conversation at that point, stating staff has been “aware of this issue well before the letter was received by council, and it was on our to do list to bring forward some recommended revisions to the bylaw that includes that provision as well as a few others… We can certainly bring forward a report or we can just simply bring forward the proposed changes.”

“My concern was mostly we acknowledge receipt of the letter and say that we are actively looking into it, how we choose to do that is entirely up to council,” added Robertson.

Coun. John Tidbury then seconded Robertson’s motion.

Coun. Pat Corbett-Labatt stated she didn’t think they needed to pass a motion to send a letter back to Carew, but they do need to make changes to the bylaw, “and if staff needs direction from us or a recommendation from us to review the bylaw, even though you’re doing it in the background anyways, I think that would be a better motion at this time.”

Dorward agreed with Corbett-Labatt’s choice, stating she wants the motion to be to direct staff to draft proposed changes to the bylaw.

“Staff will follow up with a letter, we don’t have to do a motion on that, so the motion would basically be to give staff direction to go ahead and look into the bylaw and get back to us for its approval, is that correct?” asked Dugas.

Council agreed, and Robertson’s original motion was passed unanimously to have staff look into changes to the bylaw and bring it back to them for discussion.

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North Island Gazette