Wednesday, January 21, 2009

HRM Regional Council is diabolical in her hatred of dogs

So did anyone else watch HRM Regional Council last night on television? I wish I hadn't. They talked about 2 things related to dogs. Putting the definition of kennels back into the A300 bylaw, and the topic of dog registrations.

The idea of putting the definition of kennels was talked about for about 10 seconds -- if you looked sideways you would have missed it. It was on the agenda, and it was the result of a staff report that was asked for back in July because a constituent of Councilor Barkhouse is a breeder, and under the now defunct bylaw D100 breeders only had to pay a $100 fee - and they could have as many dogs as they wanted as long as they registered their kennel. Under A300 - there is no definition of kennel - so they have to register EVERY ONE of their dogs - and if you're a breeder - guess what? None of your dogs are probably going to be spayed or neutered, and the cost of that type of dog is $50 bucks a dog! So that is a big chunk of change for a hobby breeder. So CKC types should be plenty pissed off with that - and rightfully so.

And guess why they don't want to have a definition of kennels in A300? It's because A300 is HRM wide - they want the definition of kennels to be ONLY in the land use bylaws - because there's TWENTY-ONE of them - and there's some areas of the HRM that our city officials and bureaucrats don't think that certain dog businesses and in home occupations are APPROPRIATE - ie the infamous Janet Chernin and her three year hell-on-earth trial to make her in-home doggy day care legal - while out in Hammonds Plains Wendy Gillespie gets her in-home doggy day care made legal in a year - and out in Seaforth - Camp Dog gets legalized simply by applying for a licence!!!!!!!

Should you be enraged by the unevenness of your ability to get dog services depending on which area of the HRM you live in simply because the City's employees don't think you should have access to those services in your section of the city? HELL YEAH!

And that's what went on last night at HRM City Council.

The Staff report about the Kennel Situation is here -

The 21 different land use bylaws are here if you want to have a look at them -

Only SEVENTEEN of the 21 land use bylaws have definitions of kennels in them - the other 4 land use bylaws would not allow any in home occupations that involve dogs, and they would NOT allow any hobby breeders, or kennels or anything to do with animals. Do you think that's fair? Do you live in the areas of Dartmouth, Downtown Dartmouth, Halifax Mainland, or Halifax Peninsula? You are shit out of luck if you want to be a small time entrepeneur in this city.

As to the registration of dogs - that went from the ridiculous to the sublime last night with the Councilors not able to figure out one good reason why dog owners should register their dogs with the City - and the person responsible for writing the fantabulous A300 bylaw - Sargeant MacNeil - couldn't think of a reason either when asked what was the difference if a dog owner bought a $2 name tag for their dog instead of paying $15 for a tag from the city - and Animal Control caught the dog and repatrioted it back to his home fammily. MacNeil said there'd be no difference because the $2 name tag had the same information on it that the City tag would.

I emailed my Councilor Steve Adams - because he was the one asking the question - but he didn't get the answer in time, because they were so LOATHE to talk about dogs that they'd already moved on to the next agenda item. But there's a big reason (supposedly) why City tags are so much better than home made tags - and it's called - has anybody figured it out yet?...... drum roll.... anybody?..... What do they call it in other cities?...... It's called a ...... FREE RIDE HOME...... That's why we pay to register our dogs! And yet no one could think of that fringe benefit last night at city council. What a bunch of maroons. Really.

Another fact that they couldn't seem to let sink in was the fact that the report that Sargeant MacNeil was presenting - and he also said it at the Council meeting was the fact that in December - they were able to send more dogs back to their original homes rather than putting them in the shelter - which is the #1 aim of any responsible Animal Control authority. Jeez. Here's the report from the licencing strategy -


  1. Anonymous3:04 PM

    I would qualify "Free Ride Home" for only spay/ neutered dogs. If the dog is not fixed then the owner would be offered a low cost spay/neuter option or a more expensive fine.RG.

  2. Anonymous4:04 PM

    I don't understand what free ride home means because i am stunned. jm

  3. Anonymous7:51 PM

    Don't understand the free ride home as they charge you $200 to get you dog out if it is picked up usually. The resaon for the $15 is more money for them.

  4. See, the principal of the free ride home is that - there is NO impound or boarding fees - which are outlined on the HRM's website at - because it says that they charge the impound fees when they "transport the animal to the shelter" - but if your animal has a city tag - when they pick up your animal with his city tag on - they have got these computers in their vans, or m maybe even cell phones where they can call someone with the number on the city tag to verify the animal's owners address so they can contact the owner - and instead of taking the animal to the shelter, guess what - they can take the animal back to his HOME. That is the theory behind the "free ride home" - and why registering your dog with Animal Services saves you money. You don't get charged the impound fees and boarding fees that you would otherwise if they didn't know who owned your dog.

  5. If I'd be a city I'd like to know who owns dogs. Yes, there should be a requirement for licensing and it should be enforced and it shouldn't be all that cheap - to pay for the free ride home, and the surplus could finance a few more bylaw officers that specifically go after people who don't pick up their dogs doo.

    If the city could trace the owners of stray dogs that are scooped up malnourished or sick, they could/should fine these people who neglected or abused their canine companion. Fines heavy enough might in time contribute to a building of their own, so they don't block space at the SPCA.

    Dog licenses are good for dogs. We need them, sadly, to keep tabs on people. My suggestion is to start higher, maybe $ 50.00 per dog older than 3 months, regardless if the dog is neutered or intact, if one is a breeder or not.

    I hate to see folks that actually make money from their dogs not having to pay, and responsible owners that happen to believe in hormonal balance charged extra. Instead, I would lower the fee for owners that make an effort to train their dogs, keep them out of trouble, attend training classes or private sessions; hire a dog walker or daycare instead of popping them in the yard all day to annoy neighbors with barking. In short, like good drivers, good dog owners should get a break, but everyone should pay.

  6. Anonymous2:59 PM

    Dog licensing needs to be better enforced for one HUGE reason: I attended the SPCA dinner/auction in the Fall and they showed a video that said that 93% of dogs who are picked up by Animal Services are never claimed by their owners. 93%! The reason they are never claimed is not just because people don't care about their pets, it is partly because many people don't know where to call, there are some people who don't even know Animal Services even exists. If people were forced (and checked on) to register their dogs, that process would, by default, educate people about what Animal Services is, what the service is that they provide, and I'm convinced the redemption rates would increase.

  7. Anonymous5:42 PM

    I think the fee for unaltered dogs should much higher, make it cheaper to fix your dog than it is to register an unaltered dog .. except when they are too young to be fixed, then use the money to pay for low income spay/neuter assitance programs... definitely help reduce the number of unwanted animals. The whole kennel thing.. There's way too many back yard breeders out to make a quick buck, I wish there was a way to weed them out and give the responsible breeders (ckc registered perhaps?) the kennel fee all inclusive deal