Retractable leashes will soon be outlawed in Pitt Meadows as the city toughens its rules to deal with dangerous dogs.
On Tuesday, council directed staff to amend its animal control bylaw with five changes to its existing rules.
The city will replace the word “vicious” with “dangerous” throughout the bylaw.
Other changes include regulating the length of leashes for all dogs to two metres on public property. Dangerous dogs must be on a leash that does not exceed one metre.
Fines for dangerous or vicious dog violations will be raised to $500 from $300.
Retractable leashes will not be allowed.
Owners will also be prohibited from tying up or tethering their dogs for more than two hours per day.
Bylaws officer Leslie Elchuk said the changes are being prompted by several incidents that took place earlier this year.
“When you have a vicious dog, if you have shorter leash, you have more control over them,” she said.
“Many people also believe that if you tether a dog for a long time, they become more aggressive.”
In July, Greg Wyatt watched in horror as a pit bull cross came out of nowhere, grabbed his Yorkshire Terrier behind the head and started shaking its in its mouth.
Wyatt yelled and emptied almost an entire can of dog spray at the attacking dog, and finally punched it in the head until his hand couldn’t take any more. But he couldn’t save his dog Tucker.
Jax, the dog who attacked Tucker, was a rescued animal and the subject of several strata complaints. He was put down after the attack.
Wyatt is pleased the city is taking action to strengthen its bylaws. He lobbied council to put a ban on retractable leash, but had also hoped that the city would also include a rule about caged muzzles for vicious dogs.
“The goal was to have our community made safer for adults, children and dogs and it looks like we have succeeded the goal,” said Wyatt.
Mayor Deb Walters said the changes are positive.
“It all comes down to education and getting the message out in the community,” she added.
The parks department will also be cracking down on dog owners who let their pooches roam off leash at sports fields and playgrounds in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
A recent update to the parks bylaw prohibits dogs from playing fields, sport surfaces, playgrounds and water parks, or even within three metres of them.
Fines have been raised to $200.
• Regulate the length of leash to not exceed one metre for vicious/dangerous dogs on public property.
• Regulate the length of leash to not exceed two metres for all dogs on public property.
• Regulate the length of time a dog may be tethered to not exceed two hours in any day.
• Increase bylaw offence notices for all vicious/dangerous dog violations to $500.