LETTER: Proposed dog statutes need work

Ward 27 Clr Lornette Joseph writes:
As a great supporter of animal welfare, the draft environmental regulation on dog ownership is very emotional for me.

I believe that the main points of the draft should be revised to increase clarity.

The number of dogs kept on a given size property is of concern as no clear dimensions or demarcations are specified.

The wording referring to small and medium-sized properties is not clear or definitive.

The draft does not address dog ownership before the implementation of the regulation and the points contained therein.

What will happen if the ordinance goes into effect and a responsible pet owner houses three dogs on what is now classified as a small property? Will the extra dogs be removed?

Issues regarding the application of dog licensing are also vague as to whether it is transferable. What about if an applicant moves from one city to another within the metro?

Collecting the owner’s personal information to obtain a permit may breach the Popia Act as information about the number of dogs and breeds kept on a property could endanger the lives of residents if such information falls into the wrong hands.

The draft further refers to the “authorized official of the city,” but does not make clear which legal body will manage its implementation.

Section 27 Clr. Lornette Joseph.

Will the CoE start a dog department? Will this fall under the health banner or the EMPD?

Will officials be appointed for each city or will just a few oversee the entire metro?

Furthermore, what will be the background of officials to accurately identify animals that could be considered dangerous?

These officials cannot be provided with a list of breeds and cannot be expected to actually identify the characteristics of each animal that may indicate it has an aggressive temperament. Breed does not equate to aggression.

If animals are seized, will the SPCA, which is already overburdened and bursting at the seams, be responsible for caring for them?

Will the city increase the subsidy to the animal welfare organization?

It is suggested that fees should be paid to obtain dog permits; where will the money go and how will it be used?

It is a fact that fireworks scare several animals, including dogs, who escape from their yards out of fear, resulting in their injuries and death, but the city continues to allow their sale and use.

I personally believe that established statutes that benefit the community’s right to health, peace and safety should be prioritized before dog ownership laws are implemented.

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