Burnaby council gets tough on vicious dogs, including pit bulls and German shepherds
Dog bites are trending upward in Burnaby.
That's one of the reasons why city council passed a motion last night clearing the way for significantly higher licensing fees on vicious dogs.
A staff report by finance director Denise Jorgenson points out that there were 69 reported bites on other animals and humans in 2007, rising to 81 by 2012.
"Based on data collected until [the] end of May 2013 projected incidents for 2013 are 94," she adds.
Pit bulls account for just two percent of the licensed dogs in the city.
However, they were responsible for 24.7 percent of the bites since 2007 in which the breed could be identified.
Under the Community Charter, anyone affected by the proposed revisions to Burnaby's animal control bylaw has until September 20 to provide written feedback.
Responses will be presented to council before a vote takes place on implementing a new fee structure.
Of the 477 bites since 2007, Jorgenson writes that it was only possible to identify the breed in half of the incidents.
After pit bulls, the second-highest number of bites were by German shepherds, accounting for 14.6 percent of those that could be identified by breed.
German shepherds account for 5.4 percent of all licensed dogs and 7.3 percent of all dog bites. This includes those attacks in which the breed couldn't be determined.
Jorgenson's report cites Dogsbite.org statistics indicating that 61 percent of U.S. fatalities in 2012 from dog attacks involved pit bulls. This represented 23 of the 38 deaths.
Burnaby, West Vancouver, and Richmond are the only three municipalities with a breed-specific dog bylaw
The Burnaby report proposes a $100 licensing fee on spayed or neutered vicious dogs.
Owners of unalterted vicious dogs would be required to pay a $150 licensing fee.
Fees for spayed or neutered dogs is normally $26; unaltered-dog owners pay a $52 fee.
Jorgenson has also recommended a doubling of impoundment fees for licensed dogs to $50 for the first time, rising to $300 for the third time. Fees would increase to $350 on a third impoundment for unlicensed dogs.
Owners of dogs that show aggression would pay a $200 fine, with $500 to those whose dogs have bitten.
Jorgenson's report is available here.