Lacombe adopts new responsible animal ownership bylaw

City has consolidated several existing bylaws into one bylaw

Council yesterday adopted Bylaw 469, the new Responsible Animal Ownership Bylaw, which encourages pet owners to register their cats and dogs with the City, have them spayed or neutered, and identified so that lost pets can be returned to their owners.

The City has consolidated several existing bylaws into one bylaw dealing with animal control in Lacombe. Residents will be able to find information about all regulated animals – dogs, cats, urban hens and livestock (including bees) – in one location. Bylaw 469 is effective immediately.

“I believe this bylaw strikes a balance between respecting the rights of pet owners and enabling bylaw staff to responsibly administer the regulations set out by Council,” said Mayor Grant Creasey. “Responsible pet owners understand and appreciate the value and peace of mind that microchipping offers in the quick identification and return of their beloved animals in case they get lost.”

A microchip is a small glass cylinder about the size of a grain of rice that contains a radio transmitter and a minute electronic device containing the animal’s identification number. Microchipping is carried out in exactly the same manner as a regular injection procedure, and is available from local veterinarian clinics for a nominal fee.

When an animal running at large is located, Bylaw Enforcement staff will be able to scan it for a microchip, which will display an identification number that then can be used to contact the owner.

“A new feature of the bylaw is the introduction of a cat-licensing program to allow staff to return impounded cats to their owners,” said Director of Corporate Services Diane Piche. “We want to encourage cat owners to have their animals altered and identifiable; therefore, to give owners time to comply, the City will not enforce cat licences until January 2020.”

This new bylaw also provides for a one-time licence that is valid for the lifetime of the animal, rather than requiring an annual renewal. The only exception is if an animal is declared to be a nuisance or vicious.

Paid 2019 dog licences will be transferred to lifetime licenses as long as the owner can provide proof of altering and microchip identification on the animal.

If no proof can be provided, but the dog has been altered and/or microchipped, the owner may attest to this in front of a Commissioner of Oaths (provided by the municipality at City Hall). This process will also apply to cats.

For more information about the Responsible Animal Ownership Bylaw, please refer to the March 11, 2019, Council Agenda at http://www.lacombe.ca/home/showdocument?id=11708.

-Submitted by the City of Lacombe

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