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North Cowichan, Tweaking Animal Control Bylaw

North Cowichan council has directed staff to remove “breed-specific” legislation from its Animal Control Bylaw.

Under the old legislation, there was a “Vicious Dog,” section in the bylaw that targeted specific breeds of “dangerous” dogs.

The new bylaw is no longer an Animal Control Bylaw and Mayor Al Siebring said, if adopted, it will be referred to as the Animal Responsibility Bylaw moving forward.

“We have re-written ours now and it moves away from just animal control into responsible animal ownership, it broadens the scope a little bit,” said Siebring.

The bylaw will reflect the behaviour of animals and owners and Siebring said, some view pitbull and other similar breeds as being more dangerous, but the public opposes that view and the old legislation.

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“We got a lot of push back from the community saying, “that’s not really proven,’ and council made the decision to take that provision out,” said Siebring. “Those animals will be treated like every other, which still means that if it attacks somebody, it can be declared as dangerous or a dog to keep an eye on but, it’s no longer tied to the breed.”

The animal abuse case involving Teddy the dog has led to many municipal governments taking a harder look at bylaws around animal control.

Council will give first three readings to the amended bylaw in April.

Breeds that will be taken out of bylaw:

Pit Bull Terrier
American Pit Bull Terrier
English Bull Terrier
Pit Bull
Staffordshire Bull Terrier

  • Also includes any dog of mixed breeding which includes any of the aforementioned breeds.
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