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Ponoka dog owners should brush up on animal control bylaw

How familiar are you with the Town of Ponoka’s animal control bylaw?
(Stock image/Metro Creative Connection)

With the warmer weather, more dog owners may be taking the opportunity to get outside with their pooch or letting them spend more time in the backyard.

Responsible dog owners know they must keep their canine companions from barking excessively to the point of disturbing neighbours, pick up after their pet and keep them properly contained.

However, to avoid fines from the Town of Ponoka, dog owners should ensure they are familiar with the town’s animal control bylaw to prevent any surprises.

It’s not necessarily just dog owners that can be fined, either.

Landlords should be aware that if their tenants have dogs, the landlord can be held responsible for paying any bylaw tickets for offences related to that dog if the town deems the animal to be in the care and control of the property owner.

“It depends on the offence and the details of the situation,” read a statement from communications manager Sandra Smith.

“(In the example) of a barking dog, if the animal is in the care and control of the property owner, the property owner can be charged.”

The fines for failing to pick up excrement or allowing it to build up on a property start at $100 for the first offence, then $200, then $300.

Proper dog owner etiquette is also important when out on the trails or while using the off leash dog park.

Failing to carry a leash in an off-leash area can get you a $50 ticket for the first time, and failing to remove your dog from an off leash area if it starts showing threatening behaviour will cost you $100 and up for recurring offences.

A full list of penalties for specific offences can be found in ‘Schedule C’ of the town’s animal control bylaw.

Contesting tickets

Smith said all Town of Ponoka bylaw tickets state that recipients who wish to contest their ticket can request an administrative review within 14 business days from the offence date.

They can submit their request in writing or in person at the town office.

Their request should state why they are disputing the ticket. The town will then investigate the matter and a decision will be issued. If the recipient is not satisfied with the decision, they can request town council to review it.

According to Smith, a small number of bylaw tickets were issued last year with misprinted information on the back mistakenly stating that recipients could dispute their ticket in provincial court.

“These tickets were immediately pulled from circulation once the error was identified and all recipients received written letters advising them that they could request an administrative review if they wished to contest their bylaw ticket,” said Smith.

Failure to pay tickets could result in those fines being added to a property owner’s tax bill.

“Under the Municipal Government Act (MGA) municipalities may recover outstanding amounts owed from bylaw tickets through property taxes.”

All of the Town of Ponoka bylaws can be viewed on the town’s website.

Emily Jaycox

About the Author: Emily Jaycox

I’m Emily Jaycox, the editor of Ponoka News and the Bashaw Star. I’ve lived in Ponoka since 2015 and have over seven years of experience working as a journalist in central Alberta communities.
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