Toronto putting dogs on a tighter leash in parks with bylaw blitz
Dog owner Alanna Anderson, left, says she is thinking twice about keeping her three-year-old pooch Bain on his leash at the park with bylaw officers cracking down on off-leash dogs. (CTV News Toronto)
Amara McLaughlin, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, June 20, 2017 8:53PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 20, 2017 9:26PM EDT
The city is putting dogs on a tighter leash in parks and beaches, as the number of complaints about off-leash dogs in Toronto is on the rise.
As dog owners share a downtown with limited green space and a small number of fenced-in off-leash areas, many parks are turned into defacto playgrounds for pooches.
Those who violate the leash law risk a $365 fine, something Alanna Anderson says makes her think twice.
“I let him off leash and I know I shouldn’t, because he’s not trained,” Anderson says of her three-year-old pooch Bain.
This fine could become a lot more common as the dog days of summer set in. The city’s new bylaw enforcement director Rod Jones says he is going to be cracking down for dogs who roam without their leash.
“Not everyone loves [dogs],” Jones said. “We’ve got dog lovers and non-dog lovers and everyone has to co-exist.”
In an effort to re-allocate existing resources, utilizing 15 bylaw enforcement officers prowling the city’s some 1,500 parks, Jones is planning a blitz by placing officers on patrol in parks during peak times.
“We know where the hotspots are regarding complaints in the parks and we’re going to be there when the issues are there,” he said.
Already this year the city has fielded 652 complaints, laying 49 charges. Last year there was a record amount of calls about off-leash dogs at city parks – up 24 per cent.
Dog owner Andrew Cannon was given a warning a couple months ago and says if he got a full ticket “I’d try to fight it.”
The city says bylaw officers will use discretion when issuing tickets that can reach as much as $5,000 if the owner is deemed aggressive or has a history of complaints.