Dieppe dog bylaw changes upset owners

Some dog owners in Dieppe, N.B., are upset at a proposed bylaw they say will put them on a short leash.

Some dog owners in Dieppe, N.B., are upset at a proposed bylaw they say will put them on a short leash.

The city is updating its 28-year-old dog-control bylaw, including rules for dogs deemed to be dangerous. But, the municipality also plans to impose wide-ranging restrictions on pet owners.

One proposal that has upset some dog owners is the section that would limit dog ownership to three animals. Janise Vautour, who owns a dog grooming business, doesn't like that idea.

"I think that's pretty ridiculous because a lot of people have more than one dog. Some have two, three, some have four, five dogs. That's not right," she said. "It's like saying to a family, you have a small house, so you can only have three kids, not four or five."

The city has been caught off guard by the number of complaints

City spokesman Andre Daigle said there is a good reason for wanting to restrict the number of dogs.

"There's a certain a number of dogs on a property that it becomes a little more difficult to manage. We have to remember that we live in an urban area and the neighbours are very close," he said.

Dog owner Suzanne Roussel disagrees with the proposal to fine people who don't pick up after their dogs right away — even if it's on their own property.

Roussel said that takes the idea of stoop and scoop to an extreme.

"We're certainly concerned about the community. But to what extent should the community be telling us what to do in that regard?" she said.

But Daigle said people not picking up after their dogs is a problem.

"There are property owners that, unfortunately, it's been a problem, and council brought it to our attention," he said. "It still has to be considered by council and they still have to decide if they want to go ahead with that or not."

With more than 7,000 private properties in Dieppe, Daigle acknowledged that enforcing some of the proposed rules could be difficult.  

The city will be putting together a working group to look at some of the issues. The bylaw still has to pass second and third readings, sometime within the next few weeks, before it is approved.