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Scugog helping farmers who want Livestock Guardian Dogs

DAN CEARNS The Standard

SCUGOG: The Township of Scugog is helping local farming residents with an amendment to the Township’s Animal Control Bylaw.

At a General Purpose and Administration (GPA) meeting on Monday, November 6th, councillors saw a report which recommended increasing the number of “working livestock guardian dogs” on agricultural properties to three. There would also be a provision for residents to apply for a variance if they feel more dogs are required.

“A working livestock guardian dog (WLGD) is a breed of dog that is specifically trained and bred to protect livestock, such as sheep, goats, cattle, and poultry, from predators like wolves, coyotes, and other threats. These dogs are known for their protective instincts and are often used in rural and farming settings to help deter predators and keep the livestock safe,” the report, penned by Municipal Bylaw Officer Denise Stephenson, explained.

Prior to this report coming forward, Ms. Stephenson wrote the Township’s bylaw “limits residents to a maximum of two dogs, with a provision for one extra dog permitted on Lands Zoned Rural provided the parcel is larger than four (4) hectares in size.”

“I’m happy to see that we’re making some movement in this area, ”Ward 3 Councillor Robert Rock said. “I know it has been something that’s been requested.”

The amendment to the bylaw will see these dogs “exempt from the Noise By-Law and the noise provisions of this By-Law as long as they are actively engaged in the performance of their trained duty.”

Ms. Stephenson told councillors at the meeting “generally the breeds [which] are used for Livestock Guardian Dogs are not big barkers as it relates to a squirrel running past a window or all the things dogs at home do.”

“These dogs tend to not be big barkers without a reason,” Ms. Stephenson added. “So, unless they’re protecting [the animals], they don’t tend to be big barkers.”

The Township is also making sure this amendment is not abused by non-farming families looking to increase the number of dogs they can own.

“It’s not for people who have rural properties [to] just to have a bunch of dogs because they love dogs. There [are] provisions in here that the farmer has to provide a level of proof on his end that he is a bonafide livestock farmer and then we can look forward to these dogs and specifically dogs for this need,” Ms. Stephenson said.

While the amendment was passed at the GPA meeting, the decision still needs to be ratified at the next council meeting.

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