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Exshaw’s Off-Leash Dogs Put on a Short Rope.

New animal bylaws tighten leash and licence requirements for dogs in Exshaw

In the recent past, if you owned a dog in Exshaw, you didn’t have to leash your dog while walking in the hamlet, nor did you even need a dog license!

Not anymore.

As of July 11, the Municipal District (MD) of Bighorn passed an amended responsible animal ownership bylaw prohibiting off-leash dogs in the hamlet. Exshaw was among the few remaining places in the Bow Valley that allowed off-leash and unlicensed dogs.

The decision to tighten leash requirements was prompted by concerns about encounters between dogs and wildlife, such as bears, cougars, and elk, in areas bordering the hamlet and Alberta Parks lands.

Andrew Box, fire chief and director of protective services with the MD, told the Rocky Mountain Outlook: “We are currently dealing with issues specifically in areas that border onto Alberta Parks lands, and I’ve had a number of requests recently from Alberta Conservation in regard to assisting them in better promoting our leashing requirements, for instance, in Dead Man’s Flats and Lac Des Arcs,”

Box stressed that officers will use an education-first approach when dealing with infractions where bylaw changes are concerned, but residents and visitors alike should be aware of the changes.

The updated bylaw includes provisions for vicious dog licensing and varied licensing fees based on the dog’s spaying/neutering status. While some residents have expressed interest in a designated off-leash dog park, there currently is no provision for one in the hamlet.

So next time you head out to Exshaw or any of the Alberta Mountain Parks, bring your doggie’s leash! A leashed dog is a safe dog.

Dog at Lake Louise. Photo by Jf Brou on Unsplash

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