Crackdown on dogs in parks

Dog owners are being warned to be responsible.

New signs clarifying the rules are being posted at Marshall Field and the DND grounds in Vernon because of an ongoing problem with dogs running loose.

“There have been so many incidents with dog attacks,” said Pat Ellis, with K9 Control, the service contractor for the Regional District of North Okanagan.

“We’re giving out lots of tickets in all parks.”

In a recent incident, there was a direct conflict between an adult and a dog.

“If it was a child instead of an adult it could have been very bad,” said Clint Kanester, Vernon’s bylaw enforcement manager.

“The dog has since been put down by the owner as this was a second incident, but I have also seen dog fights and other issues over the years.”

Current signs prohibit dogs from being on sports fields, but that rule is overlooked.

“People have challenged it by saying, ‘They’re not being used as sports field right now (no teams present),’” said Tannis Nelson, RDNO community development co-ordinator.

“But not everyone picks up after their dog and while one field is not being used by teams, right adjacent there may be kids.”

It’s hoped the new signs at DND and Marshall Field will ensure the rules are followed.

“We’re trying to clean the message up so it’s clear for dog owners,” said Nelson.

At DND, dogs will continue to be allowed off-leash in the designated dog area but they must be on-leash on trails and the rest of the park, and no dogs are allowed on the sports fields at any time.

Dogs must be on a leash around the perimeter of Marshall Field and they can’t be on sports fields at any time.

Dog control officers can issue $50 tickets for not having your dog licensed, for not cleaning up after your pet or for being in an area clearly marked ‘No Dogs.’

“They are pretty good at issuing warnings and then tickets for multiple offenders,” said Nelson.

The status of dog parks generated debate during the city’s recent parks plan process.

“We got a lot of feedback about dog parks on both sides and people are passionate on both sides of the issue,” said Cleo Corbett, the city’s long-range planner.


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