The City of Maple Ridge and the local SPCA are stepping up enforcement and education, trying to get people to leash their dogs on trails along the Alouette River.
Fred Armstrong, with the city, said the municipality and SPCA have been getting complaints from people about dogs running off leash as sunny weather brings more walkers, horseback riders, hikers and bikers on to the trails.
Most dog owners are responsible and keep their dogs leashed on the trail network, Armstrong said.
“There are some dog owners who have been ignoring the rules related to having dogs on leash and the city has recently installed new and additional signage to ensure that the bylaws are known and better educate the trail users,” he added.
Three more signs have been put up trails north of the Maple Ridge Equi-Sports Centre to increase awareness about the rules. Signs are already in place for other trails.
As well, two SPCA animal control officers will be conducting regular patrols of the dikes and all parks in Maple Ridge. While making their rounds, officers will educate the public, and issue verbal and written warnings, up to and including tickets. Fines range from $50 to $500, depending on the violation.
Armstrong said the approach will be to speak to dog owners and let them know about the bylaw, rather than issuing fines.
“We will continue to monitor the situation to determine if additional resources are required,” Armstrong said.
Maple Ridge will be posting reminders on its website and on social media to remind residents about leashing regulations. All dogs must be licensed and leashed in Maple Ridge, with the exception of designated and signed off-leash dog parks.
Off-leash dog parks in Maple Ridge:
• Albion Fairgrounds, 23448 – 105th Ave.;
• Maple Ridge Upper Park, 13165 – 236th St.;
• Jerry Sulina Park, 210th Street and 132nd Avenue;
• Westview Park, 20950 Wicklund Ave.;
• Hammond Dog off-leash area, 20015 Wharf St.
In Pitt Meadows, some parts of the multi-use trails along the Pitt River are deemed off-leash, starting north of Old Dewdney Trunk Road. Pitt Meadows also has off-leash areas in Hoffmann Park and North Bonson Park, otherwise, dogs have to be on a leash.