Vancouver city council will discuss a motion during Tuesday’s meeting that, if passed, could allow for aggressive dogs to be re-assessed and possibly reconciled after a certain period of time.
The motion, titled “Relief and Rehabilitation of Aggressive Dog Designation,” was submitted by Councillors Pete Fry and Michale Wiebe. The two argue that when a dog is designated as “aggressive” by the city’s Animal Control by-laws, they lose out on exercise, socialization, and training opportunities. In turn, the councillors say that the long-term effects are detrimental to both the animal and public safety.
“The by-law codifies the designation of ‘aggressive dog’ as a life-sentence of muzzling, restricted socialization, reduced exercise, and reduced training opportunities,” reads the motion. “Which is a detriment to both animal welfare and the long-term assurance of public safety.”
“Neither the by-law nor the Vancouver Charter distinguishes between the various reasons dog can be aggressive, nor do these laws provide the potential to recognize the prognosis of dogs.”
- See also:
The motion also says that “the Vancouver Charter codifies the designation of ‘dangerous dog’ as a death sentence unless the dog guardian is able to succeed in court to save the dog’s life.”
Fry and Wiebe say that muzzles, reduced socialization, and fewer off-leash opportunities are “only a part of a comprehensive strategy” to manage and rehabilitate aggressive dogs. They also note that animal behaviourists cite a number of underlying causes for aggressive behaviour, some including trauma, fear, anxiety, and inadequate socialization.
The motion, if passed, would allow for a dog owner to apply for the “re-assessment and possible re-evaluation” of an aggressive dog. This could only be done, however, after the animal and owner work with a professional animal behaviourist to “assess and modify the behaviour of the dog” for at least a year. The decision would ultimately be left to the City of Vancouver’s Animal Control Authority.
Changes also include adjustments to the legal language in Animal Control by-laws, as well as a staff report that examines other animal control by-laws that exist in surrounding cities in the Lower Mainland.