Eckville Town Council adds guard dogs to Dog Control Bylaw

Council had a lot of discussion during the most recent meeting on Sept. 10.

Eckville Town Council met for its regular meeting Monday night to discuss a variety of items, including replacing the Dog Control Bylaw with an updated version.

The updated bylaw will allow for added definitions to differentiate between an “aggressive dog” a “domesticated dog” and a “guard dog”.

A guard dog will be defined in the updated bylaw as “a dog that is specifically trained, or, used primarily, for the purposes of guarding property, including residential, commercial or industrial property and must be registered as a Guard Dog in accordance with the bylaw.”

Whereas an aggressive dog will be “any dog that has been made the subject of an order under the Dangerous Dog Act.”

In both cases, a “dog” refers to a domesticated canine.

With the addition of the term guard dog, the Town of Eckville is also adding a need for a license specifically for the ownership of a guard dog.

According to the bylaw, the permit application for a guard dog is $100 and the licensing fee for the guard dog is $50.

Those seeking a license for a guard dog will have to follow guidelines set out by the Town, which includes proof of liability insurance “covering damage and personal injury caused by the guard dog, in an amount not less that $50,000.”

Further, the Town will inspect the property where the guard dog is to be used. This is to ensure “adequate measures are being taken to protect the health, welfare and safety of the general public.”

The adequacies could include, but are not limited to, proper fencing and signage.

The amended bylaw continues to say a guard dog must be leashed and muzzled when on a public street within Eckville.

Eckville Chief Administrative Officer Jack Ramsden says the concern about guard dogs came from a business in town that uses two guard dogs in the off hours.

“We looked and we didn’t find anything like this in other municipalities like Red Deer and wanted to make sure we address the concern,” Ramsden said.

The major concern with guard dogs, according to Ramsden, comes from the possibility of the dogs getting out of the property and attacking another animal or person.

“We have have had one instance where the guard dog of the business did get loose and ended up attacking another dog. Thankfully the dog made a full recovery, but we want to cover our bases,” he said.

The Dog Control Bylaw will be passed on to the Town’s animal control department as well as to the business currently using guard dogs in the off hours.

It is expected the bylaw will return to Council for a second and third reading later in October.

The Town of Eckville is also still searching for a new Director of Emergency Management (DEM). The previous DEM resigned from the position more than a year ago, leaving Ramsden as the acting DEM.

However, there is currently talk with Lacombe County of creating the position of Regional Director of Emergency Management.

Because of this, Eckville Council has decided to withhold advertising the position until more in known about the possibility of regional position.

Eckville Town Council is also looking at possible avenues and options for garbage and recycling collection.

The Town currently has a contract in place, and has had the same contract for the last five years.

Ramsden says the current contract was only meant to last three years, but has been extended twice.

No decision has been made other than to look at possible options.

Eckville Town Council will meet for its next regular meeting on Sept. 24, which will include an public hearing on the amendments to the Land Use Bylaw for cannabis retail. The meeting is planned to being at 6 p.m. in the Town’s council chambers.

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