City to target owners of unruly canines

Thursday, May 27th, 2004

Licensing, leashing bylaw enforcement among measures in five-year plan for crackdown

Ai Lin Choo

Fines ranging from $50 to $75 will be levied against dog owners who fail to license, leash or clean up after their dogs. CREDIT: Steve Bosch, Vancouver Sun

VANCOUVER Vancouver unleashed a new initiative Wednesday to crack down on dog owners with unruly animals.

As part of a five-year strategic plan, the city’s animal control department, parks board and police department will work together to step up the enforcement of dog-licensing and leashing bylaws, and raise dog owners’ awareness about being responsible and respectful.

Tom Teichroeb, the city’s chief licence inspector for animal health, told a police media briefing Wednesday the crackdown follows numerous reports about unruly dogs.

Vancouver sees about 20 serious dog-biting incidents a year and gets weekly complaints from senior citizens nervous about going into parks, he said. There have also been reports of dogs knocking over children at beaches.

“What we’re talking about is respect for the community. We’ve had real issues around this in the community,” he said.

The Vancouver park board also receives hundreds of complaints every month, especially about unleashed dogs in parks, said park board spokesman Bill Manning.

A study conducted by the Vancouver park board last year showed 20 per cent of the population of Vancouver has reported being bothered by an off-leash dog, and that 20 to 25 per cent of dog owners aren’t picking up after their pets.

There are 29 off-leash areas in Vancouver where dogs can play at specific times, but many people don’t follow the rules, Manning said.

“Since 1998, when the program began, there seems to be a growing sense of entitlement where people feel they can have their dog off-leash at any park at anytime.”

Fines ranging from $50 to $75 will be levied against dog owners who fail to license, leash or clean up after their dogs.

Vancouver police spokeswoman Const. Sarah Bloor, said police officers will also be available to help animal control officers should confrontations occur.

“We want to ensure that the parks are safe not only for residents, but for people who go to them,” she said.

© The Vancouver Sun 2004

Comments are closed.