Vernon council gets serious about off-leash fines at Marshall Fields - InfoNews

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Vernon council gets serious about off-leash fines at Marshall Fields

March 11, 2019 - 3:37 PM

VERNON - The grace period for off-leash dogs on Marshall Fields in Vernon is over.

Vernon City Council voted to have bylaw enforcement officers get strict with dog owners who let their pets off-leash in the play area of Marshall Fields at its regular meeting today, March 11.

Coun. Akbal Mund suggested violators receive a warning followed by a fine if they don't comply.

"We have to mitigate [this problem]," he said.

Mund noted soccer season will be starting in April, which means Marshall Fields will be filled with kids playing on the grass. He said a fence between the play area and the trail used by dog-walkers would help keep pets off the field, but such a project could take a while.

"I don't see that fence being built for months," he said.

The debate over dogs on Marshall Fields has been ongoing for the last two months. Darlene Hainer brought a petition to council on Jan. 21 asking for an off-leash area at Marshall Fields, saying dogs get the best exercise and socialization when they roam free. She suggested making a trail near a creek next to Marshall Fields an off-leash area.

The petition saw pushback from the North Okanagan Youth Soccer Association, which suggested building a fence between the play areas and the trail instead of changing the bylaw. In January council temporarily lifted off-leash fines in the trail area.

Coun. Kari Gares said she's visited the fields recently and has seen plenty of dogs in the play area. While administration looks into a solution, be it a fence or a bylaw change, Mayor Victor Cumming suggested a temporary fence could serve as a short-term solution.

The motion to more strictly enforce fines at Marshall Fields was passed by all councillors present.

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