News

Fields aren't for the dogs

A tight leash remains on dogs at a Vernon park.

Despite some public complaints about enforcement of rules, the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee won’t back off new signs that insist dogs must be on-leash in specified areas at Marshall Field.

“There are a lot of dog owners but it shouldn’t supersede sports field users and never endanger anyone,” said director Maria Besso.

Dogs have only ever been allowed on a leash around the perimeter of Marshall Field and not on the sports fields at any time. But new signs outlining the rules were installed after an adult was bitten by a dog and had to be sent to hospital for treatment.

“The person who was attacked was lining the field for a kids’ soccer game,” said director Bob Fleming, adding that the situation could have been far worse had the victim been a child.

GVAC officials insist that such incidents create liability for taxpayers as public safety in parks is paramount.

“I’ve treated a lot of dog bites and bites involving children are traumatic for many years,” said director Rob Sawatzky, who is a retired physician.

There have been about 15 reported attacks at Marshall Field since 2004.

“Dogs off-leash are also attacking dogs on the leash,” said Pat Ellis, with K9 Dog Control.

Other issues also arise from dogs at large.

“When dogs are allowed to run off-leash and do their business, it’s often not recovered,” said Juliette Cunningham, GVAC chairperson.

Reinforcement of the rules hasn’t gone over well with some residents.

“We have had signs vandalized and removed,” said Tannis Nelson, community development co-ordinator.

Beyond Marshall Field, dogs off-leash are also a problem in other parks, with about 15 warnings issued a day in Greater Vernon.

“I have one fellow (officer) who goes from park to park all day, every day,” said Ellis.

 

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