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Sexsmith mulls scrapping of restricted breed bylaw

Sexsmith Town Council has called for a public hearing on its restricted breeds bylaw. It has given first reading to an amended bylaw which would see several dog breeds removed from the restricted list. Animal Control Bylaw 995 authorizes a municipality to pass bylaws respecting the safety, health and welfare of people and the protection of people and property.

As of now, the restricted breeds list includes Pit Bull Terriers, American Pitbull Terriers, American Staffordshires, and Rottweilers.

Mayor Kate Potter says council would prefer to gauge public reaction to the idea but says any potential changes aren’t conditional to the feedback they get.

“Do they feel it is antiquated or outdated, or would they prefer to keep that restriction in there? Some municipalities have gone away from having it and others have decided to keep it, so we said let’s engage with the public and get feedback before making that decision.”

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Potter says the conversation about a possible change started with a member of the public in the summer of 2019 spoke to members of council and asked about the need for the bylaw, and could it be changed.  She adds it has been somewhat in the public eye since the County of Grande Prairie took restricted breeds out of their bylaws in 2017.

“It wasn’t our top priority, because it’s a voluntary change if you want to call it that, to say, ‘let’s reevaluate this’. We wanted to make sure it was something we wanted to make sure within the next few months we were able to settle and get things sorted out with.”

The public hearing is scheduled for February 3rd at 6:30 p.m. at the town office. If residents are unable to make it in person, they are urged to send feedback via email to [email protected].

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