The instances of dogs being left in hot vehicles seemed less prevalent this summer

The instances of dogs being left in hot vehicles seemed less prevalent this summer

Colwood looks to tighten up animal control regulations

Fines to be levied for failing to provide adequate food and improperly transporting animals.

Changes are likely coming to bylaws that affect Colwood’s furriest residents, with amendments being made to regulations surrounding animal control.

Owners who fail to provide clean drinking water or who tie up their animals to a fixed object using a choke collar could face $250 fines under a series of amendments to the City’s bylaws.

At a recent protective services committee meeting, bylaw officer Kevin Atkinson reported that the proposed changes are made with the aim of improving the general health and welfare of animals in Colwood, including wildlife. Fine values were discussed in consultation with the Capital Regional District’s animal control division.

The changes follow concerns raised by the SPCA, as well as the CRD, who asked the municipality to consider the inclusion of provisions regarding animal care.

“Times are changing and people’s views are changing, so Mayor (Carol Hamilton) and council … gave direction to staff to put something in our bylaws. Let’s be proactive rather than reactive,” Atkinson said.

In addition to bylaw requirements for owners to provide water, food and a sanitary living environment, owners will be subjected to fines for keeping animals in a hot enclosure, failing to provide their animal with exercise opportunities and failing to provide veterinary care in case of illness or injury.

Outdoor animals must be given shelter that is at least twice the length of the animal in all directions, allowing the animal to turn around freely. Shelters should provide shade and protection from heat, cold and the elements that is appropriate given the animal’s outer coat.

Anyone who transports an animal outside of the passenger compartment – or in an uncovered passenger compartment – will be breaking the bylaw unless the animal is properly confined or secured to prevent injury.

Another new section of bylaws deals with animals used in competitions.

Public shows, exhibitions, carnivals and performances in which animals are required to perform tricks are against the regulations, with some exceptions for performances involving horses and exhibitions involving dogs. The display or showing of animals at a country fair or pet show is also allowed under the regulations.

“The intent is to stop animal shows that are not conducive to animal health,” Atkinson noted.

All of the above offences come with a $250 fine.

The bylaw amendments were due to be discussed at council’s Oct. 11 meeting, but were removed from the agenda until clarification was received regarding the animal performance section of the regulations. It’s expected the item will be on the agenda at council’s next meeting Oct. 24.