The Township of Langley was requiring dangerous dog owners to have more liability insurance than any other municipality — so much more that it was difficult to arrange coverage, a staff report to council said.
Under the animal control bylaw, the owner of a dangerous dog had to have $5 million in liability insurance.
That was higher than any other Metro Vancouver municipality and should be lowered to $1 million, a report by bylaw enforcement manager Ruby Senghera said.
Senghera said a dangerous dog owner contacted council in June and “advised that the required amount was rejected as too high by several insurance providers.”
A review of Lower Mainland municipalities by Township staff found the City of Langley, Corporation of Delta, and New Westminster all require a dangerous dog owner to have no more than $1 million in liability coverage.
Surrey requires valid liability insurance but doesn’t specify a minimum; and Burnaby, Vancouver, Richmond and the Fraser Valley Regional District don’t require any insurance.
The new, lower rate was unanimously approved by Township council this summer.
Under the Township animal control bylaw, a dangerous dog meets one or more of the following conditions:
It has killed or seriously injured a person, killed or seriously injured a domestic animal, while in a public place or while on private property “other than property owned by the person responsible for the dog” or an animal control officer “has reasonable grounds to believe (it) is likely to kill or seriously injure a person.”
Once a dog is declared dangerous, the owner is required to obtain a dangerous dog licence and liability insurance “to cover any claims arising out of dog bites or dog attacks that could be caused by the dangerous dog.”
Making the change to $1 million will “allow for consistency of dangerous dog licensing requirements between neighbouring municipalities and will make the requirement for attaining liability insurance more accessible to dangerous dog owners,” the report said.