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Castlegar pit bull licensing fee to remain $1,000

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
May 20th, 2011

Pitbull owners in Castlegar will not enjoy a reduction in the cost of dog licensing, as council voted Monday night to maintain the status quo.

This, after controversy arose surrounding the city’s $1,000 licensing fee for pit bulls and Staffordshire Terriers (as compared $15 to $45 for other breeds). Nelson and Trail both have $300 licensing fees for pit bulls.

The bylaw was reviewed by council’s Public Safety committee at councillor Deb McIntosh’s request.  “It’s an ineffective bylaw,” she said. “We know there are pit bulls in the community, they’re just not being licensed, or they’re being licensed as some other breed.  “If it was more affordable, I think most responsible dog owners would pay it. $1,000 is just too much,” she added.  Ultimately, the rest of council disagreed, after a committee report came back recommending the bylaw be left as-is.  “We (the Public Safety Committee) met with animal control officer Rick Smith, along with RCMP detachment commander Laurel Mathew and councillor Gord Turner,” said council Russ Hearne. “We discussed the pros and cons, and looked at a lot of statistics regarding pit bulls.”  He said pit bulls were originally bred to be powerful, aggressive dogs that would fight to the death, increasing the risk of death and/or dismemberment in the event of a pit bull attack.  “I agree that, when there’s a problem, it’s generally with the owner, not the animal,” he said. “But some dogs present a greater risk than others. Pit bulls are aggressive with other dogs, and they can become aggressive with people if they’re not properly socialized.”  “This is a tool we can use if we identify a pit bull in Castlegar.”  He said the committee did not meet with pit bull owners or veterinarians over the issue, explaining that there wasn’t much point, as no one was arguing that pit bulls, when raised properly, can be wonderful pets.  “It’s not the properly-trained, well-loved ones we’re concerned about,” he said. McIntosh voted against leaving the fee as-is, while the rest of council voted in favour.  Castlegar’s Animal Control Bylaw has been in place since 1991.

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