Dogs are fantastic. They're among the most loyal of pets you can have and are considered family to many who own one.
But they don't always behave the best.
Though the City of Fort Saskatchewan doesn't have any outright bans on the breed or type of dog that residents can own, they do have a set of bylaws that ensure both dogs and people in the community stay safe.
The city's animal control bylaw has two distinct characterizations for dogs that have been deemed problematic: a nuisance dog and a restricted dog.
"A nuisance dog is anytime we've dealt with a dog more than three times and they've been convicted of an offence," said Coreen Raynor, the director of municipal services. "An example would be a dog that was at large on three different occasions where tickets were issued."
Once a dog is considered a nuisance dog, the owners must purchase a 'nuisance dog license', which costs $120.
"That's just one of the deterrents we have for making sure people are being responsible pet owners."
That is pretty much the end of the consequences of owning a nuisance dog. Once you acquire the license your trouble is more or less over.
The more difficult situation is when a dog is handed the title of being a restricted dog.
"A restricted dog is any dog that has chased, attacked, or bitten any person or other animal and has been convicted of an offence," said Raynor.
Similarly, owners must purchase a specific 'restricted dog license' after the designation. The cost of this, given the more serious nature, is more expensive at $208.
There are also some specific conditions that restricted dogs must follow.
"[The pet owner] has to have insurance purchased for the dog so when the dog is off their premises they would be covered if anything happens," said Raynor. "[When off its premises] the restricted dog has to be muzzled, held on a leash, and under the control of someone over the age of 18."
"When it is on its own premises that dog also has some conditions to ensure it stays within its own yard and it's chained and muzzled. It's quite a serious offence."
Pet owners don't have to immediately accept the consequences when their dog has been deemed restrictive.
There is a path of recourse that allows pet owners to appeal the judgement before the city council.
"Every resident who gets a restricted dog order has the ability to request for council to review the order," said Raynor. " They can come before council and speak to the order and ask council to either withdraw, substitute, or vary some of those conditions."
"It's just the ability to appeal and speak to the council regarding the order that was given to them."
You can read the entirety of the city's animal control bylaw here.