Maple Ridge council looks at new dog bylaw

Gone are the steeper fees for pit bulls, but you better make sure Rover and Fido are behaving themselves

Owners of pit bulls won't have to pay higher fees under new bylaw.

Owners of pit bulls won't have to pay higher fees under new bylaw.

Maple Ridge council has backed away from a bylaw penalizing owners of pit bulls and instead slapping higher fees on all dogs with bad attitudes, whatever breed they may be.

After analysis and research, the proposal of a breed-specific clause has been removed from the bylaw, says a staff report.

“Staff have determined that is not the way to go,” said bylaws director Liz Holitzki.

“Instead, we’ll deal with the behaviour of the dog.”

Under the Animal Control Bylaw, people with dogs deemed aggressive will have to pay $200 for a yearly licence, considerably more than that charged for a normal dog. The owner of a spayed or neutered dog only has to pay $25 year if they renew before Jan. 31. Seniors over 65 also will get a 50-per-cent break, bringing it down to $12.50.

The new bylaw, which replaces several older bylaws, defines an aggressive dog as one that bites or harasses a person or another pet, or one that’s known to attack without provocation. The category includes a dog’s first instance involving a minor bite.

Once so labelled by an animal control officer, the owner will have to pay the $200 licence fee annually, whether it’s for a mixed pit bull-German shepherd or a mini-poodle-chihuahua cross.

A second classification, that of a dangerous animal, which includes dogs, defines animals that attack without provocation, injure or even kill people or pets, and threaten public safety.

Once a pooch gets that label, however, its days can be numbered. Under the Community Charter, a dangerous dog will be seized and then evaluated by an animal trainer. If it’s confirmed to be dangerous, the district will seek a court order to allow its destruction. If the court disagrees, the dog can be returned to its owners, Holitzki told council.

The higher fee levied on aggressive dogs covers the extra bylaw enforcement costs for such animals.

The bylaw also requires owners of both aggressive and dangerous dogs to be either kept indoors or in a kennel and to be muzzled when out in the public.

Impound fees for both types of dogs are $500 for the first instance and $1,000 for the second. Dogs are not allowed on playgrounds, sports fields, recreation beaches, inside public buildings or on the Haney Wharf.

Council approved Monday sending the bylaw on to its regular meeting next Tuesday for formal reading and voting.

Holitzki said later that Pitt Meadows is also reviewing its bylaw, although West Vancouver, New Westminster, Richmond and Burnaby do have breed-specific ones.

The suggestion of charging higher licence fees for certain breeds raised a firestorm of protests from pit bull owners this summer, although council never approved such a measure. The SPCA also said it didn’t support such an approach.

Pit bull owners would have been required to pay a $200 “aggressive dog” licensing fee annually.

However, while many communities have chosen to enact similar bylaws singling out a particular breed, they have had little positive effect, according to Lorie Chortyk, with the B.C. SPCA.

Among the breeds most often associated with dog bites, Chortyk said golden retrievers and Chihuahuas are the worst offenders.

The BCSPCA repeated that position in its feedback to the district and instead suggested a law that “encouraged responsible pet ownership,” focusing on both the owner and the dog.

The bylaws department also backed away from banning selling of live animals in pet stores but instead consulted with SPCA and developed standards for stores. All dogs, cats and bunnies must all be spayed or neutered before they’re sold from a pet store.

The bylaw lists several animals that people are prohibited from owning, such as python and anaconda snakes, monitor lizards, alligators and crocodiles, aquatic turtles, “old world” spiders, bullfrogs, anteaters and the African pygmy hedgehog.

Close relatives of the domestic dog are also on the banned list, such as wolves, jackals, foxes or animals, along with mixed variations of those animals. However, there is no mention that keeping a coyote is prohibited because there have been no instances involving coyotes, Holitzki said.

In Maple Ridge, it’s also illegal to keep a killer whale or an elephant.


– with files

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Maple Ridge Community Foundation is hosting a trivia night fundraiser on Hit TV. (Special to The News)
Connie Werzun has taken up photography classes, and tok this picture along the dikes at Jerry Sulina Park one night recently. Using a seven-minute exposure, “a photo taken at night looks like it was taken during the day.” (Special to The News)
SHARE: Night photo of mountain range appears as day

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

Raphael Baruh of Slavic Rolls creates one of his Eastern European desserts at the Maple Ridge food truck festival on Saturday afternoon. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Food Truck Festival in Maple Ridge this weekend

Pick the drive-through lane for the food you like at Albion Fair Grounds

Coyotes walk down a Maple Ridge residential street. (Special to The News)
Security camera shows coyotes walking down Maple Ridge street

A warning to Silver Valley residents to keep their pets indoors, says home owner

Coach Ray Wakeman and the Maple Ridge Lawn Bowling Club are looking for new members. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Maple Ridge club looking for lawn bowlers

Games have been modified for safety during COVID-19

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
1 taken to hospital after plane crash at Metro Vancouver airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Most Read