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Updated bylaw provides new level of protection for our furry friends

Pet standards bylaw ups the ante when it comes to the treatment of local pets

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

Oshawa pets now have new levels of protection to ensure their only concerns are hairballs and the squirrels outside their windows. Now officially on the city’s books, the updated pet standards bylaw introduces new criteria for adequate shelters, pens and enclosures.

When it comes to the outside home for your canine counterpart, houses must not only be large enough for your dog to stretch out fully when inside and allow them the ability so stand, sit, turn around and lie down, they must be constructed so that they are sufficiently insulated and completely enclosed, save for the door.

The house must also be raised off the ground and the roof, floor and walls must be durable, waterproof and weatherproof with the ability to be sanitized.

As for the location, the houses cannot be located in the front yard and must be two metres from any lot line.

And when it comes to the pen or enclosure, it must also be located somewhere other than the front yard, with no side less than one metre in length and no less than one metre higher than the dog when it is in a standing position.

The pen must also allow the animal to be in clear sight of the owner and must be allowed out of the pen for a minimum of one hour in a 24-hour period.

And while pet advocate Gillian Lauder says she is upset the criteria that would require the pen to be shaded in the summer months was left out of the bylaw, she’s happy with the update.

“Moving forward, this is a great gain for dogs living in unacceptable conditions and we fully intend in getting other municipalities to adopt likewise,” she says.

The city would also like to remind residents that Municipal Law Enforcement and Licensing Services officers have the ability to go on to private property for inspections to ensure these bylaws are being followed. In terms of administrative penalties, those found to be violating any aspect of the city’s bylaw could see themselves paying $125 for the first day of contravention and $250 for each subsequent day the issue is not resolved.

For more information and the full list of criteria for pet standards under the new updated bylaw, please visit oshawa.ca/petowners.