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Pet bylaws set to be tackled in pair of public meetings

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

Come next month, the city is set to hear from animal rights advocates and the general public on a pair of contentious bylaw changes dealing with the reselling of cats and dogs in pet stores and the leashing and tethering of animals.

The first of the public meetings to be held by the corporate services committee is slated for Sept. 9 at 6:30 p.m. and will look at banning the resale of cats and dogs in pet stores.

The issue received heated debate at the committee level in 2014, with animal activists claiming the practice supports illegal breeding operations, while pet stores claimed their businesses would suffer without the ability to purchase cats and dogs from breeders.

The meeting will be a chance for the public to comment on the proposed ban.

Councillor Amy England says the meeting was meant to be held earlier than the September date, however the committee was looking to accommodate residents who may be away during the summer months.

“We were supposed to have it during the summer,” she says. “But then corporate services committee…gave direction to staff to hold the meeting off until September because people may be on vacation.”

The second public meeting, this time dealing with the Responsible Pet Owner bylaw and Animal Care Standards, is set for Sept. 21 at 6:30 p.m.

The public meeting stems from an earlier delegation by residents concerned with animals being tethered outside for lengthy periods of time in the extreme heat in the summer or freezing cold in the winter.

Oshawa resident Martin Field was one of a trio of delegates appearing before the corporate services committee in February, requesting a change in the bylaw to address the issue.

“The overall intent is to ensure the owner treats the pet like a pet companion,” he said at the time.

According to England, any changes made to the bylaw are planned to be in place come winter.

“From the animal rights perspective, they would like this in place by winter time so that it can start being enforced,” she says. “(I’m) just hoping that all council agrees that there needs to be steps taken.”