Complaints about propane cannons used by blueberry farmers have dropped significantly since a bylaw restricting them was enacted in 2013

Complaints about propane cannons used by blueberry farmers have dropped significantly since a bylaw restricting them was enacted in 2013

Propane cannons still hurt animals, despite restrictive bylaw, woman claims

Complaints about the bird scaring devices have dropped in recent years

According to at least one woman, dogs, horses and people continue to suffer adverse effects from propane cannons, despite a three-year-old bylaw the Township says has been successful in restricting the devices.

In June 2013, the Township of Langley passed a bylaw requiring blueberry farmers to register the noise-making cannons, which are used to scare away birds and prevent them from eating crops.

The law requires farmers to pay an annual $125 fee and post a notice before the devices’ use.

Lisa Coulthard keeps a horse in stable near 264 Street and she said the canons — which are fired in the spring and summer months when blueberries are ripe — scare the horses and her dog.

She said she usually brings her dog into the barn with her or leaves her at a dog day care.

“I can’t do either right now because it’s like full-scale fireworks dog-panic all the time. She’s ripped up my car twice. She broke out of the stall of the barn, for fear. She tried to run away for fear of the noise.”

Coulthard said she believes the Township has not done enough to restrict the canons.

“The bylaws are pretty weak. They let them go from dawn to dusk — with a short break in the afternoon — every five minutes.”

Coulthard said she wants to move to the area but the canons, and the effect they have on her dog, are preventing her.

The bylaw has been successful, according to the Township’s manager of bylaw enforcement, Ruby Sengherra, who said complaints have gone down from 16 in 2013 to a total of three last year and only one (from a horse owner) this year.

She said 10 properties have registered to use the cannons.

The bylaw sets escalating fines for violating the rules: $150 for a first offence, $350 for a second and $500 for a third and any subsequent offence, but this hasn’t been enforced in the last three years.

Bylaw enforcers “have been successful in making contact with property owners and educating them on the bylaw; and ultimately gaining voluntary compliance,” said Sengherra. “The issuance of fines will only be considered when an attempt to gain voluntary compliance fails.”

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