The Town of Sexsmith has passed a series of amendments to its animal control bylaw, lifting many of the restrictions previously on certain large dog breeds. Sexsmith Mayor Kate Potter says the bylaw amendments, which were introduced to the town council in January, was met with some skepticism before ultimately passing.
“The bylaw was out for review from legal and county bylaw enforcement who we contract to enforce our bylaws in Sexsmith and so that finally has come back. We’d given the bylaw first reading previously, so it was time for it to come back and finalize any changes on it,” she says.
“There were some hesitations and this bylaw did not pass unanimously. There were people who were against it because either they have seen evidence of certain breeds of dogs in their own experience that have been more dangerous than others.”
The most notable change to the bylaw is the removal of the restricted breed designation, which applied to five specific breeds of dogs that had more severe restrictions on them. Rather than apply to the breeds as a whole, the Vicious Dog designation, as well as certain restrictions apply when a specific individual animal acts out; or does something violent or dangerous. Potter says this will help identify certain animals as potentially dangerous, over assuming the worst just because a dog happens to bark at a passerby.
“Everybody starts with a clean slate, but if your dog does do something that is violent or dangerous, you will end up potentially with a vicious dog designation,” she says. “There is a lot of information, studies and reports on both sides of this issue but in general, it seems our residents were in support of removing this restriction.”
So long as they are specifically housed, urban hens are also allowed in the town. Potter says the allowance has so far been met positively.
“You can have up to four chickens. There are obviously some restrictions in place as far as how you house them and maintenance of [them] but chickens are allowed in Sexsmith,” she says. “We’ve has a few residents take us up on that and so far it seems to be going well.”
Dogs that have been designated as vicious will require a license to keep, which will cost a resident $100 per year.