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Hamilton politicians request no-pets policy for city facilities

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger's dog 
Dash has been a common sight at city hall for the past few years.
Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger's dog Dash has been a common sight at city hall for the past few years. Ken Mann

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger’s days of bringing his dog Dash to work may be numbered following a debate by the city’s audit, finance and administration committee.

Committee members were asked to support a staff-recommended dog-friendly workplace policy during their most recent meeting on Wednesday morning.

READ MORE: Hamilton among cities with ‘Most Pampered Pets’

Instead, most of the eight councillors spoke out strongly against the idea before turning it around and voting 6-2 to ask staff to prepare a blanket “no-pets policy” for municipal facilities.

Stoney Creek Coun. Brad Clark says some employees have allergies or a fear of dogs.

READ MORE: Dog-friendly office: Puppy cuddles breed productivity at Calgary company

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Clark says that when staff are making policies, “we should be looking out for the minority, we should be looking out for the people who have these issues and not putting them in a box where they have to go out of their way to defend themselves.”

Supporters of pet-friendly workplaces argue they have a positive impact on the stress and anxiety levels of employees.

READ MORE: Hamilton horticulture staff design large grass dog in front of city hall

Ward 1 Coun. Maureen Wilson voiced support for the pet-friendly policy, calling it a “wise investment” in a healthier workplace, “whether it be physical activity or mental health.”

If approved, there would be several exemptions to a no-pets policy to allow for service dogs, the Hamilton police canine unit and animal control services.