Pet Bylaws and Population Health

Pet Bylaws and Population Health - Active

Our study of pet bylaws through the lens of population health promotion is the first in any field to investigate how municipalities are balancing people's attachments to their pets, on the one hand, with complaints and concerns about other people's pets, on the other. Our starting place is that the presence of pets in cities and towns shouldn't be taken for granted, and thus we are looking carefully at municipal bylaws that allow people to keep pets, as long as they follow rules.

We know from research on smoking bans that the wording of bylaws is important, so we are paying close attention to what pet bylaws say, as well as what they leave out. Research on smoking bans has also taught us the importance of implementation systems surrounding bylaws, so we will also examine how these are applied in practice.

By conducting several in-person interviews and ride-alongs with peace officers in cities and towns across Alberta, we will learn first-hand about what it is like to draft, amend, implement and enforce bylaws on pets. Through this research, we will collaborate with these key agencies in sharing our findings with the general public.

Relevant publications and presentations:

Rault, D., Nowicki, S., Rock, M. (2015). Vulnerability at Work: A qualitative study of peace and bylaw officers in Alberta who investigate animal complaints. (Poster presentation at the Campus Alberta Student Conference on Health, Banff, Alberta, September, 4-5, 2015).

Rock, M. (2013). Pet bylaws and posthumanist health promotion: a case study of urban policy. Critical Public Health23(2), 201-212.

Rock, M., & Degeling, C. (2013). Public Health Ethics and a Status for Pets as Person-Things. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry10(4), 485-495.

Key research personnel:

Dawn Rault (PhD Candidate)
Melanie Rock (PI)
Cindy Adams (Rault PhD Supervisory Committee)
Jane Springett (Rault PhD Supervisory Committee)