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Wellesley proposing changes to dog bylaw, with an impact on kennels and owners alike

Whether you’re breeding, boarding or simply buying a dog, Wellesley has some changes in store for you.

The township is revamping its dog and dog kennel bylaw to tighten guidelines around impounding dogs at large, dog bites and restricted breeds such as pit bulls. There are also new kennel guidelines and rules covering micro-chipping dogs.

A draft of the new bylaw was discussed Tuesday night as councillors met for a committee meeting.

Among the changes, a  section on impoundment has been added to the bylaw to address the situation of an animal running at large without the owner present. Hillside Kennels is the pound keeper for the township, and under agreement the dog is kept there for a minimum of four days. Also under consideration are stricter requirements for dog tags, which help return stray animals to their owners, who are responsible for pound fees.

A legislative section addressing dog bites and restricted pit bulls has also been added into the new township bylaw to provide additional clarification to dog and kennel owners in the situation where one of their dogs has either shown aggression or alleged aggression towards another dog.

Owners of restricted pit bulls in the township will be required to register the dog with an animal control officer within two days of owning the dog, in addition to annual licensing.

Ward 1 Coun. Shelley Wagner inquired about the reasoning behind the addition of this into the bylaw.

“It is a legislation so, to be fair, it can be taken out, but I don’t know why you would. If the legislation ever changes we could take it out, but at this time I would like to see it stand,” replied township clerk Grace Kosch.

Regarding kennels, a breeding kennel condition provision has been added to require a run for mothers to restrict diseases being passed onto their puppies from other dogs. Because this isn’t currently a requirement, staff is proposing that this be grandfathered in so that it applies only to anyone who registers for a new kennel, or who is looking to expand an existing kennel.

Wagner suggested including a time period to which all existing kennels in the township would implement a run by the end of two years from the passing.

“We look at businesses and there are things they have to change – they get so long to change it rather than to either do an addition or renovation. As of the passing of this, they have two years to make the required changes to bring it up to the bylaw rather than wait until they apply for a change,” she commented.

The township is also proposing that no more than one kennel per property be allowed and that all dogs be microchipped prior to registering at the kennel. Staff hopes that this will improve the ability to get dogs home safe to their owners in the case that they do go missing in the township.

As a result of the new proposed bylaw fees have been adjusted accordingly, including an annual purchase of a dog tag, new kennel applications, applications to expand a kennel and the set fine schedule.

The definitions have also been expanded to provide clarification to dog owners, clarity, and enforcement personal and the animal control officer section has been revised to reflect township administration sector as it stands today.

Staff is proposing to have provisions to hold a public meeting for new kennels removed from the bylaw because there is no legislative requirement to do so.

In a related matter, council approved two applications for new kennels in the township.

Elaine and James Gingrich, starting out with 4-6 dogs, will be breeding purebred labs at their Wallenstien property.

Nathaniel Martin of Linwood requested approval to breed Huskies, Yorkies, Blue Heelers, and Cocker Spaniels on a larger scale starting off with upwards of 15 dogs.

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