To work with animal shelter on stronger, or new bylaw
Amherst wants to take steps to prevent situations like what happened with Buddy the dog in December. The town plans to work with the L.A. Animal Shelter to either strengthen or enforce new animal cruelty bylaws.
AMHERST – Amherst doesn’t want to wait for the province to act on protecting abused and abandoned dogs.
The town wants to work with the L.A. Animal Shelter to either bring in new legislation or strengthen existing bylaws to protect dogs and prevent an occurrence similar to what happened to Buddy the dog.
“I’m a dog lover and why anyone would have a dog just to keep it on a chain is beyond me,” Coun. Robert Bird told members of Amherst town council on Monday. “With all the talk in the media there is very little confidence the province will come up with anything that’s anything but status quo.
“As a municipality, the Town of Amherst has the opportunity to get out in front of this and do something meaningful, and I really think we should do something. It might not be a big problem in the Town of Amherst, but we can solve it for ourselves and not have to wait for the province to do something or nothing.”
Last month, Buddy was liberated from his tether outside an abandoned Joggins area home and taken to the Amherst Veterinary Hospital. The dog had to be euthanized for health reasons and pressure was brought to bear on the provincial government to strengthen the legislation protecting animals like dogs and cats.
Another incident in North Preston saw a dog frozen to the ground outside home just before Christmas. The SPCA has charged two people in connection with this incident, but no one was ever charged in Joggins.
A group of people in the Amherst area are hoping to remind the province of that commitment when they hold an awareness walk for Buddy on Feb. 1.
Bird is suggesting the town meet with representatives from the animal shelter to get some input on the best way to proceed.
“I’m sure they will know exactly what we should do,” Bird said. “We are not the first municipality that has looked at this. Other municipalities have had the gumption to look at this and I know the shelter can tell us what we can do to make sure our dogs are protected. I bet you in two years the province will still be trying to figure out what it should do whereas we can get something done in three months.”
Coun. Frank Balcom, Amherst’s representative to the animal shelter board, said he will bring Bird’s suggestion to the organization and get some feedback on the best way to proceed.
CAO Greg Herrett said staff will take the information collected and decide whether to strengthen its existing bylaws or bring forward a new one.
Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell has indicated he wants to strengthen the legislation to prevent round-the-clock tethering of dogs outside. The minister suggested the new Animal Cruelty Act could make it illegal to tie pets up outside for more than 12 hours.
The minister intends to bring proposed changes to animal rights groups in the coming weeks.
Colwell said he would also like to see SPCA officers be able to issue summary offence tickets.