A local woman is calling for more rules to protect both animals and humans.
Stephanie Mamer, a Meadow Lake resident, requested to speak with city council at their regular meeting March 12. Her presentation called for updated animal welfare bylaws to accompany the growing city population, new bylaws for the off-leash dog park, and ensuring one of the two city bylaw officers is trained and certified in the province’s animal protective statutes.
Mamer said she is a volunteer with Canine Action Project, an organization which provides education for pet owners and runs spay and neuter clinics in northern communities. Mamer said she has witnessed dogs left outside without proper shelter, water and food in Meadow Lake.
The volunteer said she would like to see Meadow Lake’s current animal bylaw, last updated in 2012, include more rules around animal cruelty, care, and basic needs of the animals. In 2016, she noted, 118 bylaw cases involved dogs out of a total of 398 cases.
"Last year, the most cases were for with dogs at large, the second and third most popular violations were for dogs excessively barking and without a licence," she said. "Those do not include animal cruelty or neglect charges, because we have no bylaws in place for our bylaw officers to enforce. These pets are a part of a community.”
There is currently a list of rules posted at Meadow lake's off-leash dog park, but no official bylaws governing its use. In North Battleford, Mamer said, there are several clauses governing their off-leash areas.
Coun. Kim Chiverton asked what options there were for better animal protection. If people suspect cruelty or mistreatment, Mamer said they can currently contact the Animal Protective Service of Saskatchewan and make a report, though the closest representatives for the organization are in Saskatoon. The police have been involved in severe cases in the past as well, but Mamer said she believes clearer, more extensive bylaws would be better for the city.
“Bylaw officers aren’t currently able to enforce the Animal Protection Act; it has to be a police officer,” she said. “If it was a city bylaw, it could be done locally. Joe [Hallahan] often gets calls where he can’t do anything.”
Mayor Gary Vidal said council will take the matter under advisement and discuss it at a future meeting, after working with administration to conduct more research into the matter.
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