New Brunswick community to reverse pit bull, Rottweiler ban

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New Brunswick village reviewing breed specific dog ban
Councillors in the village of Chipman, New Brunswick, say they’re making changes to a breed-specific ban on pit bulls and rottweiler due to the difficulty of enforcement. Global’s Adrienne South reports – Jan 10, 2017

Councillors in the Village of Chipman, N.B. say they will start banning “dangerous dogs” instead of specific breeds as the village works to amend its bylaws that currently ban Rottweilers and pit bulls.

Chipman Mayor Carson Atkinson said the changes come after council realized it’s difficult to enforce the ban.

READ MORE: Montreal pit bulls arriving in Halifax because of breed-specific ban

“If you can’t enforce a bylaw because you can’t determine what the actual specific breed of a dog is, why do you have something that looks like a mess that you can’t correct,” Atkinson said.

Village councillor Lindsey Fraser said they’ve also received calls from half-a-dozen prospective tourists inquiring about whether or not they can bring their dogs with them to the community.

“We’d rather be case-by-case on the animal rather than targeting a breed,” Fraser said.

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READ MORE: Montreal pit bull ban: Quebec judge suspends controversial bylaw

Atkinson said they want to encourage “responsible dog ownership” in the community.

The ban has never been enforced but Fraser said a new dog park brought about the need to re-examine the existing bylaw.

Atkinson said it’s important to have bylaws that reflect what residents want.  He said the village doesn’t want to marginalize anyone.

Staff at the Fredericton SPCA say it’s good news that the ban is being reviewed. Staff say that any dog can bite, regardless of breed.

Fredericton SPCA director of operations Annette James said they evaluate dogs based on their temperament, not breed specifics.

“Any dog that comes in here [to the SPCA] we will do an initial temperament evaluation based on touching, resource guarding, food issues and being able to play a very loose game of tag or touch,” James said.

READ MORE: Montreal pit bull owners desperate for help after council passes breed-specific ban

She said they then determine if a dog could be a risk and decide whether there’s any behaviour modification work that needs to be done.

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James said a dog’s life experience will determine its behaviour.

“If it wasn’t raised properly, wasn’t socialized properly, or if it was handled roughly by an owner [or] taught to be more reactive [or more] aggressive than to be calm and relaxed, those are all specifics that make up a dogs temperament and behaviour,” James said.

She said she hopes more communities evaluate dogs on a “case-by-case basis when it comes to aggression.”

“That’s sort of where it really really needs to go,” James said.

Fraser said Chipman would love to be a leader in non-breed-based bylaws and believe that other communities will follow-suit.

Officials from the neighbouring Village of Minto say they are also reviewing their dog bylaws.

The plan, Fraser said, is to officially have the bylaw changed by the summer, before camping season begins.

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