A petition seeks to designate a portion of Marshall Field as an off-leash zone. (File photo)

A petition seeks to designate a portion of Marshall Field as an off-leash zone. (File photo)

Dog owners call for off-leash area at popular Vernon sports facility

Marshall Field is currently on-leash; dog owners want area between soccer fields and creek off-leash

One Vernon woman is spearheading a movement to have a select portion of Marshall Field go to the dogs.

Darlene Hainer presented a multi-page petition to Vernon council Monday, calling for the city’s on-leash only bylaw at the facility to be changed. Hainer wants to see the area between the soccer fields and Vernon Creek become an off-leash area for dogs.

“The current bylaw states it’s an on-leash park only,” said Hainer, who has been walking her dogs at Marshall Field for nine years, and was supported by approximately 40 people at Monday’s meeting. “Dog walkers use the facility 365 days a year. No sporting groups use the facilities from October to April so we are not interfering with anything else at that time.”

The signage indicating the park is on-leash only is totally inadequate Hainer said.

“One small sign at one entrance from (the) east parking lot,” she said. “While gathering signatures (for petition), it was amazing how many regular dog walkers had no idea it was a leash-only park.”

The current on-leash only bylaw has been in effect for four years.

RELATED: Letter: Off-leash not a problem

There are no issues with baseball, tennis and pickleball at the facility because their areas are fenced.

“We understand dogs can’t be on the fields, particularly the soccer pitches, but if there is concern about the dogs creating problems, an alternative would be for owners to put dogs on-leash during game times,” said Hainer.

Coun. Akbal Mund said he’s at Marshall Field once a week and while on a recent visit dropping off his daughter at the Vernon Toyota Indoor Sports Centre, he took a walk from the centre to Lakers Clubhouse and around the area. On his walk, Mund counted nine poops and two dogs running on the soccer fields off-leash.

“There’s got to be some kind of system there for those irresponsible dog owners to maybe pay a higher fine if they’re caught running on the field,” said Mund, who is a dog owner himself.

RELATED: City enforcing dog bylaws in Vernon parks

“It’s got to be controlled, or I don’t see this going anywhere. Soccer is the biggest sports group in this community, with more than 4,000 participants. There’s going to be a large concern from them going, ‘Why do we have off-leash dogs and now we have to deal with them?’ How would you address that going forward?”

Said Hainer: “I agree with you wholeheartedly. I don’t particularly like picking up other dogs’ poop. It’s bad enough having to pick up my own dog’s poop. Why don’t we fine those people who get caught doing that instead of going ahead and saying to everyone out there picking up poop that you can’t be out here anymore off-leash? I don’t want them (dogs) on the playing fields.”

Dogs cannot be exercised properly while on-leash, said Hainer.

“They need freedom and space to run and play,” she said. “Putting dogs on-leash changes the whole dynamic of the interaction. They need to be socialized. Owners are very good to intervene if there is any aggressive behaviour.”

Hainer said she has never seen a serious dog encounter in the nine years she’s been walking her dog at Marshall Field.

Coun. Scott Anderson, who is also a dog owner, asked Hainer if she thought dogs were partly responsible for the erosion of the creek bed.

“That’s laughable,” she said. ” During the last two years in springtime, if they for one minute think that the dogs are creating any kind of a problem compared to the problem caused naturally by the erosion during the floods, it’s just ludicrous.”

Hainer suggested erecting a fence demarcating a walking area between the soccer pitches and the creek.

Couns. Brian Quiring and Kelly Fehr, also dog owners, liked the idea of a fence for the proposed portion.

It’s the second such petition to be launched asking for the facility to be off-leash. An online petition at change.org, launched approximately eight months ago, calls for the facility to be off-leash and for a chain fence to be installed. The organizer hoped to get 500 signatures. As of Thursday, there were 511.

Staff will bring a report back to council at its next regular meeting.

Note: This story has been updated to include the online petition.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon Winter Carnival Cop John Fawcett (left) and Carnival director Paul Cousins are at Vernon’s Real Canadian Superstore on Anderson Way until 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 24, selling raffle tickets for a 2019 Polaris Snowmobile plus $1,000 worth of gear from BDM Motorsports. Tickets are $20. Only 5,000 tickets are being sold. The draw will be made Wednesday, Feb. 17. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Vernon Winter Carnival prize sled on display

Grand prize in Carnival raffle draw is 2019 Polaris snowmobile and $1,000 in gear; tickets $20

With a hockey stick and ice bucket to ensure social distancing, volunteers with the Kal Rotary Club collected cash during a drive-thru donation event in Vernon Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Kal Rotary seeks local non-profits in need of Dream Fund support

The deadline to apply for this year’s $105K in Dream funds has been extended to Feb. 28

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

(Hal Brindley - Dreamstime)
Enderby farmers caught between coyotes and bylaw tickets

The Smith family is stuck in a Catch-22 between protecting their livestock and incurring noise complaints

Members of BCEHS Station 343 in Lake Country receive a donation of treats and wine from the community in December. (Contributed)
‘Unexpected and heartwarming’: Okanagan community supports paramedics

Cards, discounts, treats, more given to Lake Country paramedics in sign of support

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

A COVID-19 exposure has been confirmed at Black Mountain Elementary in Kelowna Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Google Image)
Another COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Kelowna school

Interior Health confirmed an exposure at Black Mountain Elementary School Saturday

Most Read