Bay Roberts needs animal policy, says director

By Mark Squibb/March 3, 2022

Bay Roberts’ director of protective services Justin Parsons updated council last week on his department’s operations and among the highlights was a recommendation to establish a clear policy on animal control.

Currently, the Town refers most of its animal issues to the SPCA.

Parsons said there is a week-long course available to train municipal workers on how to safely capture and contain stray animals, and his department had been looking into it, until Covid derailed things.

“The other part of that is, what do we do with the animals after we catch them?” said Parsons. “After talking with other municipalities and different enforcement officers, the question always comes to where you’re going to store them, where you’re going to house them. The SPCA is full and can’t house any more dogs, so that’s got to be looked into.”

He added that if staff get trained in the course, they would have authority to ticket people whose dogs are not tethered.

Parsons allowed there are no major issues with dogs being unleashed, although there are occasional incidents reported that are usually resolved quickly simply by asking the owners to put their dogs on a leash.

Councilor Silas Badcock, however, said he was aware of a situation that he plans to raise at a future meeting about a resident who had, while out walking a dog, had come across a number of unleashed dogs, which raised concerns.

Parsons said the Town has discussed isolated incidents such as that with the RCMP, and they seem to be resolved without much trouble.

Parsons added he has never had a situation where staff came across a trouble stray that no one would shelter.

Deputy Mayor Geoff Seymour asked about the hours at the Shearstown dog park, a concern he had raised in a previous meeting.

“Tome concerns about late use, and residents are concerned because cars are there all hours of the night,” said Seymour.

Parsons said a sign signifying specific hours of usage has been ordered and staff will install it once it arrives.

In other department news, Parsons reflected on the arrival of new fire truck this past fall.

“It is here now and in service,” said Parsons, adding the old truck was sold to another municipality, who is happy with it. “So, it’s a win-win for it all.”

Since acquiring the truck, the department has responded to about a dozen calls.

The truck was purchased for nearly $300,000, plus HST, last November, and custom built in Nova Scotia.

Parsons also noted the town received nine new residential permit applications in the last seven months. “I think that’s pretty good, considering COVID-19 and the price of lumber,” said Parsons. “So, it does show growth.”

Councilor Perry Bowering asked whether permits come to council for approval.

“The process is if it’s straight forward, it will go to the CAO, and if there are any issues whatsoever, it will come through the planning committee,” said Parsons.

Recent census data shows a minuscule population decrease in the town of just 0.6 percent, with some 5,974 folks calling Bay Roberts home, compared to 6,012 in the 2016 census.

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