Dog and property complaints keep town hall staff busy

Dog and property complaints keep town hall staff busy

When it comes to complaining, it appears Princeton is going to the dogs.

In the past year town hall has investigated 35 public complaints involving dogs, including 9 cases of dogs barking, one instance of excessive barking, 18 reports of dogs at large, three charges of leaving excrement, two complaints of a possible vicious dog and a prevention of animal cruelty complaint.

Those numbers are part of report recently presented to town council by Ed Atkinson, bylaw enforcement officer.

During the same time two tickets were written for dogs at large and one for an unlicensed dog, six dog related warnings were issued and 16 verbal warnings about dogs were given.

Atkinson, who is also Princeton’s Emergency Program Co-ordinator, assumed the bylaw position earlier this year.

In an interview with The Spotlight he said that “it’s interesting…every day is different.”

In total the office has investigated 136 possible bylaw infractions in the past year.

Four tickets were issued, 53 verbal warnings were issued and 37 written warnings were handed out.

Atkinson said some of the complaints are called in by the public while other problems are reported by town staff or simply observed.

The complaints run the gamut from “unregistered ATV’s chasing deer at subway” to driving on the sidewalk and sleeping in a vehicle.

“When someone puts in a complaint I take it at face value,” said Atkinson. “I’m not prejudging…There is always two sides to every story.”

Some complaints come to Atkinson from people who feel their “personal space” is compromised.

“Neighbors, I think that’s the most emotional thing that gets brought up.”

Property and zoning complaints – everything from unsightly premises and illegal fencing – take up a lot of the office’s time.

“We are a good community and [bylaws] help everyone get along.”

The report states one of the priorities for the bylaw office in the coming months is to “continue to reach out to community partners and concerned citizens to better address the wildlife management, garbage management and pet management issues to elevate the pride and enjoyment for where we live, work and play.”

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