Saturday, September 21, 2013

Back in 2005 the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities were given a bunch of recommendations - and they threw it all away

The Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities "is a not-for-profit organization mandated to represent the Provincial interests of municipal governments across Nova Scotia. Total membership is 411 elected officials representing all 54 municipalities. Municipal interests are represented through three caucuses - a Regional Caucus, Rural Caucus and Towns Caucus. The Board of Directors is comprised of twelve elected officials and one appointed non-voting member from the Association of Municipal Administrators."

They take care of the Municipal Government Act and oversee all the different bylaws across Nova Scotia. Every year someone takes a turn as president - and the notorious Lloyd Hines has been president a couple years - this year Russell Walker from Halifax is president.

In 2008 - a year when Lloyd Hines was president they had made it a priority to make dog owners more responsible for the actions of their dogs.

In 2005 - they had commissioned Westville's Police Chief Don Hussher to make recommendations in relations to Nova Scotia's dog bylaws - and he made 14 of them. Unfortunately they rejected them. For what reason nobody knows - but the recommendations are interesting.

Can you imagine if they would've accepted them? What kind of a province would we be living in today? It's almost 10 years later. We'd be living in a very different province, that's for sure.

Instead - the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities attempted to pass province wide breed specific legislation - banning certain types of breeds based solely on how they looked - luckily for all of us - they failed miserably.

Here are the recommendations Chief Hussher suggested:

In the report, Hussher offered 14 recommendations based on input from animal behaviour specialists. They include:
1. Partnership with other municipalities to ensure consistent laws.
2. Municipalities must have an accurate database of all dogs within their boundaries and any bylaw infractions link to the owner.
3. All fines for violations increased drastically to create a deterrent and increase with each repetition of the offence.
4. Laws and licences should include breeder categories with restrictions to encourage proper breeding practices.
5. Dogs that show aggression must be considered vicious and more restrictions will be required for ownership.
6. Dogs tied unattended should not be permitted for long periods – if it’s not kept in the house, a proper defined enclosure must be required.
7. Training dogs for attack or protection isn’t permitted except for police or security companies.
8. Restrictions on the owners to ensure they properly feed, shelter, train and socialize their dogs to prevent aggressiveness.
9. All dog bites will be investigated and charges laid if warranted. If the attack was unprovoked and the dog can’t be ordered destroyed, it will be declared vicious.
10. If the owner isn’t a breeder and the dog isn’t a show dog, spaying/neutering will be mandatory or increase the licensing fee drastically.
11. Dogs will be required to be micro-chipped by vets so owners of roaming animals can be identified.
12. Beware of dog signs will not be permitted – if the owner has a concern about the dog’s aggression it will be considered vicious.
13. SPCA needs more responsibility and authority to do their job.
14. A committee should be formed to look at these regulations and revamp current bylaws.

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