Animal Responsibility Bylaw

Last night I couldn’t have been more thrilled that we adopted a new Animal Responsibility Bylaw. It might not sound exciting, but I can assure you our bylaw officers have been looking forward to June 14 (yesterday) for quite some time!

The previous bylaw was challenging to use because it included breed-specific legislation and had no distinction between a dog at large and an aggressive dog. Which meant that our bylaw officers were lacking a tool that could really assist them.

Unlike the previous bylaw, Animal Responsibility Bylaw 2436 is modelled after the BC SPCA’s bylaws that promotes a tiered approach for aggressive, vicious and dangerous dogs. This means -that through reporting- a problem dog might move up the ladder with repeat offences to be known as a dangerous dog that has a financial penalty associated with this consequence. With the old bylaw, there was no distinction for aggressive dogs.

City of Fernie Bylaw Enforcement Officer Camille Neal says, “This modernized Animal Responsibility Bylaw includes regulations that help to better protect the welfare of our community’s animals and hold dog owners more accountable for preventing aggressive incidents. It also helps promote a more thoughtful and considerate approach to sharing the community’s trails, parks, and open spaces so that all members of the community can enjoy everything Fernie has to offer.”

The community can expect a robust three-month education campaign to support this new bylaw, so the community is well educated about the changes. After the educational campaign, we will move into enforcement of the new bylaw.

Having a modernized Animal Responsibility Bylaw with associated fees, charges and MTI penalties will allow for an opportunity to protect the wellbeing of the animals in our community, and to implement regulations that will hold dog owner’s more accountable for their animals, and improve the safety of our community and its citizens.

Reporting incidents is critical to the success of this new program and will help keep our community better protected. Please don’t hesitate to report, it’s important that we work together to make our trails and parks safe for everyone.

To Report a Bylaw Violation, you can email or by phone at 250-423-2244.