Owners who allow their dogs to roam off leash at sports fields and playgrounds in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows will soon be fined $200.
Tuesday, Pitt Meadows approved recommendations to adopt a new parks and community facilities regulations bylaw that includes a stiff fine for dog owners who do not comply with the rules. Maple Ridge is set to give the same bylaw final final reading Aug. 26.
In the updated bylaw, dogs are not allowed on playing fields, sport surfaces, playgrounds and water parks, or even within three metres of them.
It states further that all dogs must be leashed in all parks unless it is a designated off-leash area.
Coun. Gwen O’Connell, who agreed with the need for stricter enforcement, said it’s wrong that parents have to clean feces and urine out of their children’s sports uniforms because of others who ignored the rules about dogs in parks.
“We have five dog parks. There’s lots of places for these dogs to go,” she said.
Off-leash dog areas in the Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge area include: Albion Fairgrounds, Hoffman Park, Jerry Sulina Park, North Bonson Park, and leash-optional dike trails that extend from the Pitt River Bridge to Pitt Meadows Marina, as well as the north end of Harris Road.
According to parks and facilities director David Boag, who presented the parks and leisure report and bylaw recommendations to council, said the most common complaint the city heard about park activity was dog owners who did not follow the rules.
“It is anticipated that in most cases, staff will be responding to calls regarding dogs being off leash or being in areas where they are not permitted,” Boag’s report states.
Although parks staff will have the authority to write fines for infractions, Boag adds, “they will first make every effort to raise awareness and educate park patrons on the applicable bylaws and seek voluntary compliance.”
A parks bylaw was also forwarded to Maple Ridge council for consideration.