The City of Surrey has approved a new Animal Responsibility Bylaw, allowing it to impose hefty fines on owners of aggressive dogs before an attack has even occurred.
“Our goal is to modernize our bylaws to further minimize the risk to the general public in respect to aggressive and dangerous dogs,” said Mayor Linda Hepner in a release.
Dogs must now be registered according to a tiered system – normal, aggressive, vicious or dangerous – so authorities are aware of potential problems before they occur.
Owners of aggressive, vicious or dangerous dogs can be fined $1,000 if they do not muzzle their dog when required.
Aggressive, vicious and dangerous dogs are now defined as follows:
The new rules were created in consultation with dog experts at the BC SPCA, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association.
As well, City staff consulted dog behaviour expert, Dr. Rebecca Ledger, who has served in court as an expert witness in animal cruelty and aggression cases.
In a release on Wednesday, the BC SPCA’s Geoff Urton praised the City of Surrey for approving the new bylaw at a Council meeting on Tuesday night.
“It’s extremely encouraging to see a BC municipality finally stepping up with a truly proactive approach to the serious problem of irresponsible dog ownership in our communities,” said Urton.
“Surrey is demonstrating real leadership with this dog ownership bylaw, which is now the best in the province, and other municipalities should take note.”
The new bylaw will require dog owners to pay more for dog licensing according to how dangerous their dog is deemed.
The escalated licensing fees for the annual license fee will range from $43 for an “altered normal dog”, to $500 for a “dangerous dog.”
Among the other measures introduced as part of the new bylaw are:
For the full bylaw, check here: surrey.ca.