Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Further Info on Bill 138

I had an email from Alice B today who wrote to her MLA - Joan Massey - the Honourable Massey wrote Alice back with some good info which I thought would be good here - it said:

Thank you for your email.

I will tell you that the NDP MLAs know there are concerns, and we do want to hear what the public has to say.

In the 2006 election, Darrell stated that we do not support and would not introduce "breed specific" legislation - laws that set rules for dogs on the basis of "breed" rather than the behaviour of the individual dog.

If you like you can send your views to the Law Amendments Committee of the Legislature.

You can e-mail any presentations/comments on Bill No. 138 directly to Gordon Hebb, Chief Legislative Counsel, at or and he will gladly forward these e-mails directly to the members of the Law Amendments Committee.

You may wish to comment directly to the Minister responsible for the legislation, it is Jamie Muir,

Sincerely, Joan Massey, MLA Dartmouth East

So at this point - I'd say that's what we'll have to do - send emails to members of the law amendments Committee. I also love that Ms. Massey noted that during the 2006 elections that BSL was talked about - do you remember when Darrell Dexter was drawn over the coals because he was sent a questionnaire and one of the questions was whether he was for or against BSL and he said "personally I support Breed Specific Legislation" - and the uproar was SO BIG that he had to recant that and blame it on a staffer - that THEY had answered the questionnare on his behalf - does everyone remember that? What a HOOT that was. Fun times. That was funny. You can read my posts on that -

But I digress -

As well - I was sent several sets of minutes from the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities minutes from the last year, and there was one meeting that talked about the proposed dog bylaw -

Dangerous Dog Legislation – Proposed Changes to the Municipal Government Act
Mr. Dan McDougall, Chair of the Joint Province/Municipal Animal Control Committee,
joined the meeting to update the Board on the work of the Committee. Mr. McDougall
outlined the recommendations of the Committee as follows:

Given the precedent set in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario, the Committee proposes to amend the current MGA to enable more stringent bylaws governing the ownership of
dangerous and restricted dogs. These recommended amendments include:

1. The power for a Council to define “restricted dogs” Municipalities would be permitted to define restricted dogs by breed or other characteristic under a Municipal bylaw. This would provide a way for Councils to promote responsible dog
ownership as an alternative to a breed ban. Municipalities would be permitted to identify restricted breeds in the event of uncertainty through the expertise of a certified Nova Scotia veterinarian.

Under amended legislation, owners of a restricted dogs could be required at the discretion of Council to:
• purchase liability insurance
• post warning signs
• muzzle and leash the dog when taking it off the owner’s property
• construct a kennel to certain specifications set out in the bylaw
• undertake obedience training for the dog.

In addition, the MGA should clearly define who is qualified to identify a restricted or banned breed such as a veterinarian certified or licensed to practice in Nova Scotia.

Board of Directors Meeting March 22nd, 2007 6 These proposed amendments are already in legislation in other provinces so there is set precedent to make these changes.

2. Dangerous Dogs As indicated, the current MGA enables municipalities to define dangerous dogs as a result of the dog’s actions (ie attacking or biting). The Committee recommends that all potential limitations proposed for restricted dogs could apply to dangerous dogs at the discretion of Council.

3. Penalties Under the current MGA, individuals in contravention of a municipal bylaw can be issued a summary offence ticket up to $10,000. The Committee feels that this maximum is adequate.

The current Act also enables municipalities to set different rates for different offences. For example, municipalities in Alberta have issued substantially higher fines for restricted and dangerous dogs.

The role of the Province in addressing Dog Control and Next Steps were also outlined and discussed.

MOTION: Moved by Councillor Clarence Prince; Seconded by Warden Lloyd Hines: That the UNSM send out the draft Animal Control Committee Report to the municipalities for
their comment and feedback. Carried.

So this is very interesting, eh? How do you feel about having to post a sign outside your house that you have a certain type of dog simply because of the way he looks? What's next? Having to post a sign outside your house saying that you're a smoker? Or that you've got someone living with you with a history of violence? What's next for us here in Nova Scotia?

How do you feel about your personal freedom? Not just as a dog owner? But as a tax paying individual. I feel pretty sick.

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