South River council is going to keep the maximum number of dogs people in single-unit homes can own at two. Chris Fraser, the Almaguin bylaw officer, had proposed increasing the number of dogs to three after town hall got a number of inquiries from people looking to move into town who have two dogs and want to know if they can have a third pooch. Fraser says in the neighbouring townships of Strong and Joly, both have capped dog ownership at four and that limit applies to single and multiple unit dwellings. Coun. Brenda Scott strongly opposed the proposed increase, saying three dogs become a pack, which that could create problems. “If you understand animal mentality and animal behaviour, this is a grave error on our part,” Scott said. She also said she was surprised there was even a proposal on the table to increase dog ownership to three in single-unit homes. However, Deputy Mayor Doug Sewell disagreed with Scott, saying when he was engaged in dog sledding he had no problem kennelling 16 Siberian dogs on his land. Sewell added he was 600 feet from his nearest neighbour and the dogs were enclosed in an eight-foot high fence. Sewell said large numbers of dogs don't necessarily cause problems. He said even one dog can be problematic and he knew of one male husky that is not neutered in the community and is a problematic dog. Sewell said he had no issues in seeing the number of dogs in single-unit homes going to three and neither did Coun. Bill O'Hallarn, but both said they could live with the number remaining at two canines if that was the wish of council. Coun. Teri Brandt preferred the number of dogs stay at two because she believed beyond that, the dogs could be hard on the neighbours. As a result, council will maintain the status quo at two dogs per single-unit home. The revised dog bylaw also called for no change to people living in multi-unit dwellings, like apartments, keeping their dog ownership at one. Fraser said allowing more than one dog per apartment unit could be “unbearable after a while” given the close proximity people are to one another in the building. The proposed bylaw has some leeway if a dog owner with two dogs is asked to temporarily look after another person's dog. The bylaw also will not apply to homeowners with service dogs. Fraser says if someone already has two dogs and a need arises for the person to acquire a hearing or guide dog, “as long as they are licensed support dogs and you have the paperwork,” then these dogs are exempt from the ownership limit. The bylaw also prohibits kennels, with Fraser telling council they are “not very neighbour friendly.”
Clerk administrator Don McArthur also told council residents have asked about operating a kennel.
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget