For the first time in R.M. of Stanley history, dogs will have to be licensed.
Council gave first reading to an updated dog bylaw at the July 11 meeting which would require the licensing. The bylaw still requires two more readings to become official.
Reeve Morris Olafson said there will be no cost to homeowners.
“The licensing will be free,” he said. “You can come in to our office, we’ll give you a licence for free and the only stipulation of that is that the dog be vaccinated.”
In fact, that’s the main reason for the licensing requirement. Olafson said if an unvaccinated dog bites someone, there’s extra shots the victim must get at hospital. He added that vaccinating their pets is something that people should do anyway.
“I assume most people that take care of their pet will have a proper vaccination program,” he said. “It’s just good ownership. It’s for the wellbeing of the community.”
Olafson said the new rule isn’t in response to any particular incident, but said on occasion dogs will bite.
“It’s not a frequent occurrence,” he said.
Putting this in bylaw form also makes it possible for the commissionaires to enforce it, although Olafson said they aren’t going to be heading out with fines at this stage.
“It’s going to be a slow uptake,” he said. “Hopefully a year from now or two years from now we’ll have the majority of the dogs having a licence and are vaccinated.”
The bylaw also includes the responsibility of owners to control their dogs. People living in Community District Zones in the R.M. (such as villages) are allowed up to three dogs, while those living elsewhere in the municipality are allowed up to five.
Olafson said there’s also one more very important benefit to dog owners.
“For the pet owner, if their dog is ever missing… they have an identification so they can get their pet back,” he said.