Park's on-leash policy protects wildlife and your pet

Local residents get some fresh air with their canine companions at the Central Green off-leash dog park.

By Julie Whittet

Letting your canine companion roam the great outdoors could land you a steep fine.

Pet owners who are caught with their dogs off-leash in municipal parks could face a $345 penalty for violating a bylaw. After a complaint Wednesday of a dog chasing down a deer on Knox Mountain, the city is advising pet-owners to use designated off-leash parks throughout the city.

Blair Stewart, Urban Forestry Supervisor says, “this is something we see happen this time of year, when people get outdoors more.”

As the snow and ice melt away, more and more residents will be heading to local parks. Stewart says the city's role is to educate people about the safe use of trails, to help protect themselves, their pets and the environment.

West Kelowna pet-owner, Karen Durose, agrees.

“I think dog owners need to take responsibility for those types of things,” she says.

“This one's never off leash” Durose says, pointing to her Bichon-Shitsu, Charlie, running wild at the Central Green off-leash dog park this afternoon. 

For her and her neighbours in Shannon Heights, keeping dogs on-leash is a must. Coyote attacks are an ongoing worry for pet-owners in the area.

“I can't let him out in the backyard unless he's on a leash, everybody in our area keeps their dogs on-leash,” she says. “They're like your children right, so you worry about them,” Durose says.

While Durose and Charlie make occasional visits to the Central Green and Westside Dog Park, she says they're more likely to go for regular walks around town.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at jwhittet@infotelnews.ca or call (250) 718-0428.


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