Animal bylaw limits won’t increase but special permit will allow exemptions on a case-by-case basis

A request from citizens to increase the number of dogs residents are permitted to have in the City of Thompson has been turned down for the second time in less than three years but the city will develop a special case-by-case permit for those who have exceeded the limits in the bylaw.

A group of citizens approached the mayor and council with a request to allow residents to have up to four dogs, pointing out that people may exceed the current limits of two dogs and three cats as a result of combining families or having adult children move back home. They compared Thompson to other Canadian cities with higher limits, including Prince Albert and Weyburn, Saskatchewan, where one residence can have three dogs, Estevan and Steinbach, where a residence can have a maximum of any combination of four animals, and Winnipeg, where up to six animals, including as many as four dogs, are allowed at a single residence.

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The minutes of the Feb. 14 public safety committee say that the city does not have the staff to deal with more dogs than there are right now.

“The City of Thompson has only one Animal Control Officer and the city does not have the staff to support the increase,” the minutes read. “For example, dealing with an animal control bite can take up to 4 hours. As it stands now only about 20% of residents license their pets. However, city administration is willing to meet in the middle with the current situation where some residents have more than the number of animals allowed. A special permit will be developed to allow for those residents who have exceeded the limit and for those residents wishing to apply for the special permit. Administration will look at case by case scenario.”

According to the minutes, Coun. Jeff Fountain said he was in support of changing the animal control bylaw and suggested the matter be looked at again in the future.

The public safety committee said in November 2016 that it had decided not to amend the animal control bylaw in response to a July request from citizens.

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