Resident calls on Kincardine to tighten its animal welfare bylaws


By Barb McKay


Kincardine needs to improve its bylaws regarding animal welfare, according to a resident.


Heather Lavis made a presentation to council during its meeting Feb. 5 and urged it to consider adopting a more stringent bylaw for regulating dog kennels and also develop a bylaw for exotic pets, similar to one implemented in Huron-Kinloss Township.


“Currently, there is nothing in (Kincardine’s) bylaw that prevents the ownership of animals other than domestic or livestock,” Lavis said.


She said kennels, in particular, need to be regulated and puppy mills do exist within the boundaries of the municipality.


“Last November I visited a kennel that was operating without ever letting the dogs out of very small cages,” Lavis said. “The dogs were without food or water, the animals were timid and had lacerations. This is often referred to as a "puppy mill." This type of situation could be inspected by Kincardine's bylaw officers and a fine could be given to the individual, as well as a follow up investigation at a later time.”


Councillor Jacqueline Faubert said she would welcome any effort to update the municipality’s bylaws, especially as they relate to kennels. But, she noted that these types of bylaws are often ineffective.


“In my experience, no matter how strong a bylaw is, it’s about education. Because as long as there is demand there will be supply.”


Lavis added that Kincardine should also adopt an exotic pet bylaw to prohibit residents from owning certain types of animals. She said that exotic pets are being kept in Kincardine and in poor conditions.


Councillor Maureen Couture said along with a bylaw, Huron-Kinloss also keeps a registry of properties where exotic pets are kept. She added that building and planning director Michele Barr will be attended a  meeting at the county this month to discuss bylaws and that would be a good opportunity to gain some insight.


Council directed staff to look at sample bylaws presented by Lavis and prepare a report for a future council meeting.