On December 6, 2022, GovLaw prosecuted, on behalf of a municipality, a dog owner for repeatedly failing to take effective measures to prevent her dog from being “At Large.”
A dog owner typically breaches an animal control bylaw whenever the dog owner fails to take effective measures to prevent their dog from being “At Large.” A dog is normally considered “At Large” when a dog is not under the owner’s control by being either:
- securely contained/tethered on its owner’s property;
- securely confined within a building or escape-proof enclosure; or
- in the care and control of a person who is able to exercise direct control over the dog (and is exercising direct control over the dog).
The dog owner had repeatedly failed to take effective measures to ensure her dog was under her control. The municipality had received approximately 20 complaints of the dog being “At Large” since 2019. The dog had been reported as being “At Large” on other people’s properties, fields, streets, and alleys, and in one instance was even reported as being stuck in a fence.
The municipality proceeded with prosecuting the dog owner after having made countless attempts to get the dog owner to voluntarily comply with its animal control bylaw. It issued the dog owner eight municipal tickets, sent her compliance letters, and had telephone/in-person conversations with her prior to prosecuting her.
At the prosecution, Judge D. Fleck signed off on a Consent Plea Order that provided that the dog owner was:
- no longer allowed to have the dog;
- to be fined a total of $800, and
- to complete 50 hours of community service by August 31, 2023.
This matter is significant as it is an example of an instance in which the Court relied on section 263.1 of the Community Charter [SBC 2003] c-26 to grant an Order. Section 263.1 of the Community Charter, [SBC 2003] c-26 allows the Court to grant Orders requiring an individual to remedy the harm that has been caused as a result of the commission of the individual’s offence.