Waterloo bylaw officers get new powers to rescue pets in hot cars

City bylaw officers in Waterloo have been granted a set of new powers when it comes to animals, including the ability to break into sweltering cars when a pet is in distress.

Neighbours fed up with people who feed wildlife can now call bylaw enforcement

Waterloo bylaw officers can now legally break into a locked vehicle in order to rescue pets trapped in sweltering cars. 

"Unfortunately it is a situation that occurs in the spring and summer months," Shane Turner, the head of the city's bylaw enforcement department told CBC News Tuesday.

"We would hope to avoid the situation, but if we had to  take immediate action, then certainly we would engage the police and if we had to immediately remove the pet from the car then certainly we would do that." 

The new ability was among a number of new powers granted to city bylaw officials after a council vote on an amendment to Waterloo's animal control bylaw at city hall on Monday. 

Over feeding wildlife

Along with the ability to break into a sweltering car, Waterloo bylaw officers can also now also intervene in neighbourhood disputes over feeding wildlife. 

"We're focusing on situations that have become unreasonable," Turner said. "We're not talking about leaving a few peanuts out for squirrels or a bird feeder."

Tuner said if the situation adversely affects the neighbourhood, by attracting vermin or predators, neighbours can now call city hall and a bylaw officer will respond to complaints about unwanted wildlife. 

Turner said bylaw officers can also issue fines if the situation can't easily be resolved by a frank conversation alone.

"It's typically our last resort. We're going to focus on getting the matter resolved first," he said.