The City of North Battleford is hoping to clear up confusion for those concerned about door-to-door enforcement of pet licensing.
Enforcement of the animal licensing bylaw was stepped up in the wake of animal attack incidents in North Battleford in late September. A Chihuahua dog died as a result of one such incident, and two other incidents resulted in injuries to humans.
A news release from the City following the third incident, picked up and widely reported by local media, indicated "the special constables have been mandated to go door-to-door throughout the city and check for unregistered animals."
Councillor Don Buglas asked administration officials what was actually happening in enforcing the bylaw, in response to some concern expressed from the public about "whether it was the best possible expediture of their city taxes" to conduct the door-to-door activity.
"They thought there was going to be a continuous ongoing blitz of our bylaw, going door-to-door," Buglas said of the comments he received.
Fire Chief Pat MacIsaac pointed out no extra resources are being utilized. MacIsaac confirmed any door-to-door inspections would be done in conjunction with the regular duties of bylaw enforcement.
MacIsaac said the bylaw officers are stretched as it is, noting their additional other responsibilities. They don't have the manpower to specifically go door-to-door, he said.
MacIsaac indicated stepped-up enforcement was in response to the three incidents, all of which involved unlicensed animals. Any door-to-door inspections would involve checking to see if there are any animals in the home and to determine whether they are licensed.
"Unlicensed animals are becoming a big problem in the city," he stated. Having animals licensed shows "responsibility of ownership," and makes it easier to return animals to their rightful owners if they go missing. Those are usually returned free of charge as a courtesy to licensed owners, he said.
"Ownership of an animal is not a right - it's a privilege granted by council," MacIsaac said. It is the bylaw that animals must be licensed, he said.
Mayor Ian Hamilton supported the chief's comments.
"As the chief pointed out today, it is the bylaw that pets should be licensed in the city of North Battleford," said Hamilton to reporters.