On April 12th, Prince Edward County Council passed a bylaw and received a report from staff regarding control and governance of livestock running at large. The bylaw will set out regulations for livestock running at large or trespassing, and the appointment of a Pounds Keeper. The bylaw and report were accepted as a Roberts/Pennell motion.
The bylaw in question will also define livestock and establish that owners are responsible for preventing their animals from running at large and will provide clear guidelines for cost recovery for any pounds keeping activity.
Councillor Bill Roberts spoke to the bylaw, applauding Councillor Roy Pennell for bringing the issue forward and stressed the importance of containing livestock to ensure public safety.
“I’m pleased we’ve agreed on a practical remedy focused on preserving public safety and respect for property,” said Roberts. “Pennell had the foresight to raise this and I’m grateful to the Prince Edward County Federation of Agriculture and the Cattleman’s Association who stepped up to the plate to get this done.”
Meanwhile, Pennell voiced concern about the bylaw, which would require any concerns about livestock at large to be brought before council before a Pounds Keeper could be employed.
“To have a bylaw written this way you might just as well have nothing. If you drive home tonight and there’s cattle out, but you have to come back to council to pass a motion to get a Pounds Keeper, someone is going to get killed in the meantime. I would suggest it’s a poor way for us to truly protect the people,” Stated Pennell.
Offering an explanation to Pennell, CAO Marcia Wallace noted staff had been trying to follow council’s direction when constructing the bylaw.
“We were trying to respond to direction we thought we were given by council. We can certainly make it a staff direction to engage a Pounds Keeper when appropriate,” said Wallace.
Arryn McNichol, Director of Corporate and Legislative Services, also provided some detail about the bylaw.
“As soon as we appoint a Pounds Keeper, they will come and coral the animals when necessary,” said McNichol. “They impound the animals, capture them, and hold them for a certain amount of time. We will bill the livestock owner and if the individual doesn’t pay we roll that onto their taxes.”
Councillor Janice Maynard also voiced concern about the need to confer with council before directing a Pounds Keeper to contain animals at large, especially in the summer months when council meets less regularly.
“In the summer, when we don’t meet for two months- which is the most likely time for cattle to be running at large-we might have a problem,” posed Maynard.
Ultimately, an amending motion to remove the need to go through council in the case of livestock at large was passed.