By J.W. Schnarr
Stray dogs caught in the Municipal District of Taber will soon have somewhere to go, with plans for a dog impound facility currently underway.
M.D. council discussed the project at length during their regular meeting on Aug. 11. During discussion, Reeve Brian Brewin joked about possible alternative uses for the facility.
“This dog impound facility, is it big enough for husbands when they are in trouble?” he asked.
Back in May, council heard from Cst. Tamara Dreaddy, Enhanced Community Policing officer with Taber/Vauxhall RCMP, about the lack of options for stray or lost dogs when they are picked up in the M.D. by police and bylaw officers.
“We do have a dog bylaw that allows for the impounding of dogs,” said Municipal Administrator Derrick Krizsan. “But right now, we’ve been relying on the good nature of some of our neighbours to help get through the interim period.”
The facility would be composed of a number of enclosed cells, with a concrete base, and would be located in Grassy Lake, near the M.D. shop. It would be turned toward the highway, and designed in a manner that would limit the amount of noise residents in the area might be exposed to by barking dogs. There could also be a perimeter chain link fence with plastic slats through the chain link in order to reduce visual impacts. Krizsan noted the design also allowed for ample shade as well as an area for the dogs to get out of the weather.
“We’re better than 100 yards away from the nearest occupied residence,” Krizsan said.
“For town property, this is probably as isolated as anything (in Grassy Lake),” said Brewin.
The cost of the facility, before any suggested amendments by council, was estimated to be $26,074.05.
“In all honestly, this is more than I thought it was going to be,” said Brewin. “But I don’t know of any other solutions for the dogs.”
Division 1 Coun. Merrill Harris said the facility would be usable for any dogs caught within the entire district.
“If a dog gets caught in Enchant, it’s just transferred down here, and it gets taken care of down here,” he said.
Division 4 Coun. Ben Elfring asked how long animals could potentially be housed in the facility, and what the process was for disposing of unclaimed animals.
Krizsan suggested council consider changing their current stray dog bylaw and instituting non-destroy provisions.
“We could do our very best to adopt these pets out,” he said.
“There are a lot of people who would take these dogs,” Deputy Reeve Dwight Tolton agreed.
“The kill policy is an antiquated policy,” continued Krizsan. “I don’t think it reflect the current social outlook (on strays).”
Elfring said he would like to see the project tabled until there was an opportunity to come back with costs related to some suggested revisions on the plans, but Brewin said he was hesitant to wait too long as the dog impound was something needed in the M.D. as soon as possible.
“I wonder if we don’t want to get this going before fall,” he said. “If we put it off too much more, we might not be able to start construction. You don’t want to do this in frost, either.”
Harris said it would be helpful to just ask for costs associated with the changes, rather than instituting a full tender process.