Councillors Fountain, Wong have bone to pick with home inspection for proposed excess animal permit

A proposed excess animal permit that would allow Thompson residents to legally possess more than two dogs and three cats per household continues to idle at the committee stage after a vote on whether or not to bring it to council was defeated at the Sept. 12 public safety committee meeting.

Coun. Duncan Wong and citizen representative Chris Matechuk voted against bringing the proposed bylaw amendment to council, while Mayor Colleeen Smook and citizen representative Nancy D’Andreamatteo were in favour. Coun. Jeff Fountain, who chairs the committee, let Wong lead the discussion and excused himself from voting due to a conflict of interest because he owns three dogs.

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The major sticking point for Wong and Fountain is the proposed requirement to have people who apply for an excess animal permit undergo a property inspection by the animal control officer prior to any permits being approved.

“This approach to me is the wrong one,” said Fountain, adding that it was the only part of the proposed amendments to the pet ownership bylaw he disagreed with.

Wong said he owns a handgun and rifle and that he didn’t need approval a property inspection to obtain his firearms licences.

Coun. Les Ellsworth, who isn’t a voting member of the committee, said enough time has been spent discussing the excess animal permit since the proposal started being worked on in April.

“For me personally, I’m done talking about dogs,” he said. “If we spent as much time on public safety as this dog stuff … we might have a safer city today.”

Fountain agreed that the city has “bigger fish to fry” but said that he knows of at least two people who have left town because they couldn’t legally have more than two dogs and three cats.

Wong tried to amend the proposed bylaw to have the property inspection requirement removed, but it was defeated in a tie vote, with he and Matechuk in favour and Smook and D’Andreamatteo opposed.

The prosed bylaw also includes a $74 permit fee for each excess animal up to maximum of four dogs (the maximum number of cats and dogs in any household could still not exceed five), with the permit fee reduced by 50 per cent after the first year. Other stipulations include a requirement that all excess animals be spayed or neutered, and that a veterinarian must provide a certificate of health for all animals in a household before a permit from more than two dogs or three cats can be approved.

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