Dogs off-leash causing problems

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There have been a number of complaints recently about dogs running loose, without a leash, in public areas. There have been letters to this paper, as well as phone calls, reporting problems caused by dogs, or more accurately, dog owners, now that the weather has improved and people are getting out for walks.

Ferguson Forest is not for off-leash dogs
Letter to the editor – off-leash dogs
Letter to the editor – dog poop

There are issues regarding the failure of owners to follow poop-and-scoop regulations, leaving local trails unpleasantly contaminated. One resident of eQuinelle, Isla, called to tell us about two dogs she encountered on a walk through the park there. Neither was on a leash, and their owner lost control of them when Isla approached.

The dog owner was forced to chase after one of the dogs that ran away. She told Isla, in the few seconds she had before running off, that she was not from eQuinelle herself. Isla tried to inform the OPP and the Municipality of the incident, but both buildings were, of course, closed due to the pandemic. As that trail is for residents of eQuinelle, it is, as Isla puts it, like a wildlife sanctuary, but there are no signs forbidding bikes or dogs, so she wondered what could be done. Other complaints concern the municipal trails, which are signed to inform users of proper procedures, but are still fouled by dogs, both on- and off-leash.

Director of Emergency & Protective Services for North Grenville, Fire Chief John Okum, was asked for comments on this issue and was very helpful in providing the following information:

The animal control by-law for North Grenville prohibits a dog from running at large in North Grenville. The exception to this rule is when the dog is on the premises of the dog’s owner. However, the dog must be under control. A dog is not permitted to trespass on any private property. Of course, the North Grenville off-leash dog park also permits a dog to be off leash, and the off-leash dog park at the Ferguson Forest Centre has reopened and physical distancing must be adhered to.

Dog related complaints reported to by-law services are more frequent in spring and into summer. By-law services respond to dog-related complaints from the public as they are properly reported. Case files are generated and maintained on official occurrences. Here are a few statistics for 2020 so far:

  • Dog related occurrences officially received by by-law services: 74
  • Dogs at large: 30
  • Animal Control issues (licensing, poop & scoop, kennels, etc) = 25
  • Barking concerns: 12
  • Attack/bite: 7

Dog permits are required annually. Permit fee per dog is $15 until March 31st – or $30 beginning April 1st. NOTE: the $15 fee has been extended to June 30th due to COVID-19. Permit fees will increase in July. For on-line dog licenses, visit www.northgrenville.ca and click the “Live” tab, where you will find Applications, Licenses and Permits.

Animal Control By-law #61-14 can be found on the municipal website.

Set fines for a dog off leash is a $110 provincial offence. A dog kept on leash but not kept in control by owner is also a $110 provincial offence.

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