The Town of Strathmore council has approved a list of penalties and fees associated with Bylaw No. 22-20, the Responsible Animal Control Amending Bylaw.

The Responsible Animal Control Amending Bylaw No. 22-20 was brought to the June 8, 2022 Committee of the Whole Meeting and reviewed at the regular council meeting this week.

According to the town, the bylaw was created to enforce contraventions under the current Responsible Animal Control Bylaw 18-18. This bylaw outlines the amendments required to introduce fines associated with violations pertaining to Bylaw 18-18.

After a brief recess, amendments were made to the bylaw under the section related to vicious animals. It was revealed that in the case of a bite by a vicious animal, the penalty for the first offence is $1,500 and for a second offence was $3,000. Councillor Richard Wegener said that in his opinion, the penalties were too low.

“As I look at that and kind of realize the damage that can be done, especially if young children are involved, I just don't think those penalties are high enough,” said Wegener.

Ultimately Councillor Denise Peterson explained that while Strathmore may have its own penalties in the case of an attack by a vicious animal, there are further civil and criminal repercussions outside of the municipality and within the judicial system for cases related to vicious animals.

Town staff told the council that the fees were compared to those of the neighbouring municipalities like Chestermere, Brooks and St. Albert.

Finally, an amendment to change references from dog to animal in the bylaw when it comes to vicious animal attacks was defeated by the council.

The amendment would have used the general term of vicious animals rather than simply dogs in the bylaw, and in theory, the change in wording could have covered other animals like cats, snakes, or other exotic animals.