City looking to loosen up pet ownership rules

Excess animal permit would allow for a maximum of six cats and four dogs per household if passed

After repeated calls for change, the city’s public safety committee has taken the first step to amend their pet ownership bylaw, which currently allows for three cats and two dogs per household.

During the committee’s April 11 meeting, director of fire and public safety Mike Bourgon recommended allowing residents to exceed that limit if they sign up for excess animal permits.

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If a pet owner pays the permit fee of $74 per animal in the first year, and half that amount every year thereafter, they could potentially register a maximum of six cats and four dogs.

The proposed amendment also requires each additional pet to be spayed or neutered, and that the city’s animal control officer be allowed to conduct an initial home inspection before the permit is approved.

Excess animal permits would not be handed out to any Thompson resident who lives in an apartment.

Bourgon noted that residents don’t need their neighbours’ permission to apply for a permit, saying that this part of the application form is not mandatory and is only meant to supplement the package.

The committee’s members—which include Mayor Colleen Smook and councillors Jeff Fountain and Duncan Wong — unanimously approved these proposed changes, meaning this bylaw amendment could be up for its first reading during the April 29 city council meeting at the earliest.

Following Thursday’s meeting, resident Melissa DeBackere-Jago said she was happy with the parameters of the proposed bylaw amendment.   

Back in 2016, DeBackere-Jago and other pet owners helped spearhead a campaign to increase the number of pets allowed per household, feeling that the current standard is too restrictive.

However, their petition never got past the last administration’s public safety committee.

“They weren’t ready to hear it at that point and time and I feel that this [new] council is far more open-minded,” she said. “I felt that council was really willing to hear our perspective and work together and I’ve have had a really positive experience with them.”

To see the excess animal permit application form in advance of the bylaw amendment’s first reading, check out the public safety committee meeting minutes on the city’s website.

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