OLDS — The Town of Olds says ensuring that community peace officers can “cover” weekends is a priority for next year.
Two local residents, Rhonda and Trevor Dodd, say they’d like to see that happen after their dog Jake was killed while still in his pen by several dogs that escaped from their owner on Aug. 3.
The Dodds say they were frustrated because a community peace officer (CPO) was not available to deal with the matter. CPOs did not work weekends at that time. Police were called. They eventually referred the matter to the town.
Community services director Doug Wagstaff revealed the weekend coverage plans in an email.
“As part of the 2019 budget process, council approved replacing the bylaw officer position with a senior community peace officer,” Wagstaff wrote.
“The senior CPO position started in mid-October. Having two CPOs will provide an opportunity for increased coverage beyond office business hours. Weekend response is not currently available, however, weekend response and coverage is a priority for implementation in 2020.”
In an interview, the Dodds said in their opinion, under the current community standards bylaw, Olds is a "free-for-all for dog breeders."
However, they did concede that it's their understanding the number of dogs allowed per residence will be examined and changed, possibly in January, and that the town is planning to institute rules for dog breeders that will include a requirement to have a business licence.
Wagstaff noted feedback from the public regarding rules for dogs will be going to council Nov. 25.
“This will all be taken into council consideration and administration will work with council on any forthcoming specific changes or new regulations,” he wrote.
The Dodds said no one from the town has proactively contacted them to provide any updates on the dog biting issue since their appearance before council in late August. They said "we initiated the conversation" during an open house on the matter.
“They were informed of the engagement and survey and encouraged to share their views formally through that process,” Wagstaff wrote.
The Dodds also said they still don't think one dog believed to be a major aggressor has been put down. They think it might be a different one, because vast parts of a document regarding the animal’s death were blacked out.
“The dog in question was euthanized. The other two dogs were deemed vicious under the Town of Olds bylaw and are no longer in the town,” Wagstaff wrote.