Tbnewswatch Local News
Tuesday July 7 2015
12:37 AM EDT
2014-03-31 at 15:06

Fines coming

A woman walks her dog off leash Monday on property behind Thunder Bay
Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com
A woman walks her dog off leash Monday on property behind Thunder Bay's Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital.
By Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com

Dog owners who continue to use land behind the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital as an impromptu off-leash dog park could wind up in court.

If convicted, they could face a fine as high as $5,000.

Ron Bourret, the city’s manager of bylaw enforcement, on Monday said his department intends to step up patrols in response to complaints about dogs running loose.

Regardless of who owns the property that’s against the rules, Bourret said.

“People have had a misconception that because before it was provincial property and the province wasn’t saying anything to them that they can run their dogs back there off-leash,” Bourret said.

A quick check of the legalities of the situation showed the dog owners are in the wrong.

“When you and I open our door and our dog runs out, the minute it leaves our property, whether it runs on federal property or it runs one provincial property or municipal property, it is a dog running at large,” Bourret said.

He added his officers have been told at times they have no jurisdiction.

“It’s the old-fashioned term of head for Mexico, get across the border type of thing and you’re safe. It does not exist ... We have the right to enforce dogs running at large back there.”

It’s a matter of public safety, Bourret said.

On at least one occasion a dog on a leash was viciously attacked by a dog not on a leash. There was also a case of a man being mauled by an off-leash dog, which led to charges being laid.

Bourret said his bylaw enforcement officers have embarked on an education campaign to let the public know they’re not allowed to run their dogs off leash in the park, encouraging them to use the city’s official off-leash parks found throughout Thunder Bay.

The message still doesn’t appear to be getting through.

A lunchtime check showed several dog owners walking their pets without leashes.

One woman, who did not give her name, said she was not breaking the law.

“I have to run my dog every day,” she said, miffed that media was there.

Bourret said with the education program coming to an end, it won’t be media the public should be worried about.

“We are now going into more rigorous enforcement now. Rather than warnings, I directed the staff last week to start issuing tickets.”

A first offence will net someone a ticket that will cost between $150 and $200. A second offence will lead to a court appearance and a possbile fine of up to $5,000.

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Tbaybuddha says:
I dont have a dog so i havent had this experience, but i genunely want to know, can an animal services worker actually detain you? How can they stop you from just walking away? What if you dont carry ID on your person during your walk and when asked to give id and receive a fine you leash your dog turn and walk away.

Again, this is a real question, im not trying to be a smart-*** im just genuinely curious what, if anything, animal services can/will do if that happens.

4/6/2014 8:38:13 PM
DustInTheWind says:
All I can say is some dog owner sound like a real selfish bunch of people. Sadly that is what society has come to.
4/1/2014 9:57:00 PM
mystified says:
Why don't people just follow the law and the problem is solved.

Then the big tough internet talker comes on here and says "I'd just walk away if they try to ticket me".
If bylaw is out and about and you and your dog are out walking off leash the bylaw enforcement officer can ask for proof of licensing and get your name and address when they run the dog tags. That is if you aren't one of the cheapos who dosn't buy a dog licence.

4/1/2014 5:52:23 PM
S Duncan says:
I don't have a dog. But Id still walk away from a hall monitor.
4/2/2014 1:07:51 PM
northice says:
Well said girlonfire. You get it. Responsible dog ownership is rewarding to both the dog and owner. The law breakers are mostly self centered and really only thinking of themselves. The dogs and us deserve better.
4/1/2014 4:43:43 PM
conker2012 says:
Turn the trails into condos with views of the boulevard and superior. If dog owners want to abuse the rules then they should all loose the area.
4/1/2014 2:47:12 PM
girlonfire says:
I agree that there should be fines given to those who have their dogs off-leash.
I understand you want to exercise your dog, but you should have thought about that before getting a dog. I made the decision to get a smaller dog because of the size of my fenced yard. It would be irresponsible of me to get a dog that requires more exercise than I could LEGALLY give it.
Speaking from experience of having a larger dog in the past, playing fetch in the yard, going on long (45 minute +) leashed walks make the pooch pretty satisfied. Maybe you're misunderstanding what your dog needs in order to be satisfied. Dogs need mental stimulation as well as physical exercise.
4/1/2014 2:12:24 PM
clearcutter says:
You have the right to defend yourself and your dog from aggressive dogs. Recently in Vancouver,a small dog owner killed with a pocket knife an aggressive dog that attacked his small dog that was on a leash (no charges laid).
4/1/2014 1:19:25 PM
northice says:
Irresponsible dog walkers grace period has long since past. Exercising their arrogance and disregard for others rights to shared common space while ignoring the leash law is brainless, rude and cruel. I don't care how friendly or harmless you say your dog is you are plainly not taking the other person into consideration. Just yourself, BE RESPONSIBLE!
4/1/2014 11:50:09 AM
donnybrook says:
Kids are starving, people are homeless, crime is rising, but never mind all that, we have a serious dog poop crisis on our hands here. The smell during the spring thaw is not of dog feces, its of decomposing nature combined with the dirt and stank of pollutants in the environment from us lovely human beings.
4/1/2014 9:25:16 AM
Kidknapp says:
Donnybrook-No ID classes you as a vagrant and you CAN be detained if enforcement is called. Do you have to call yourself "John Doe" because you're not grown up enough to accept you've broken the law? Your comment is just about as grown up as S Duncan's comments.
4/1/2014 8:36:33 AM
JubJub says:
I can handle dogs off leash but cannot handle people who don't pick up after them. I won't even go to some parks because of this. Ever visit the cascades in spring, the smell of fermenting dog poop is horrid. Even walking some streets in this city is awful right now. One person even bags their dog biscuits and chucks the bags - all in the same area. There are a lot of dog owners in this city that give dog owners a bad rep here.
4/1/2014 8:04:07 AM
citymtnbiker says:
I have biked behind the LPH quite a few times and there are a lot of dogs off leash (as well as centennial). The bigger issue with the dogs off leash is the dog feces everywhere which causes a major health problem during the spring thaw. I love dogs, and all animals for that matter. Why cant some green space be provided back there for an off leash park? seems like theres more then enough room for everyone, cant we all just get along?
4/1/2014 2:20:30 AM
peas08 says:
more than once my dog has been attacked by a dog who was not on a leash behind the LPH. The owners always say dont worry he/she is friendly. My dog doesnt appreciate other dogs coming barrelling at her when she is on a leash. We dont know your dogs intentions and because she is on a leash she feels intimidated because she has no where to go. My dog use to like other dogs but with all the bad experiences she has had with off leash dogs she has become anxious. Sad that my dog was the one not breaking the rules but suffers the consequences.
4/1/2014 12:59:37 AM
donnybrook says:
An intelligent person would stop walking their dog where there, no? When you walk out of your house you can go north, south, east or west. Try going a different direction if the one you're currently walking always leads to your dog being attacked. Are people really this dumb?
4/1/2014 9:20:00 AM
MD says:
Sounds like you might be anxious as well. Dogs are naturally social animals it would be abnormal for a dog to avoid interaction unless the behaviour has been rewarded to do so.
4/1/2014 9:37:34 AM
Dan Dan says:
People seem to think that the city trails are off-leash areas. I can't tell you how many altercations I have seen. The first words out of the owners' mouths is usually "My dog has never done anything like this before!"
4/1/2014 12:00:30 AM
donnybrook says:
You're not required to carry identification when you're out walking so as far as bylaw enforcement is concerned my name is John Doe. They can't detain you so what are they going to do, follow you home?
3/31/2014 11:53:45 PM
S Duncan says:
Just tell them you're Scott Duncan.

It'll be OK.
4/1/2014 9:10:30 AM
S Duncan says:
On second thought, just tell them your name is Doug Meyers
4/1/2014 9:14:41 AM
gerster says:
Meanwhile another MAC's is getting robbed! Or someone is parking in a handicap spot!
3/31/2014 11:03:06 PM
JYDOG says:
I'm so tired of conflicts at LeVendredie (Prospect) school or at VP or having to bring a shovel to play tennis or poo flaps to take a bike ride on the trails. This city has a slew of selfish pet owners that likely should never have been aloud to keep pets in the first place. This is excellent if this law gets enforced. Next to rid this city of the cat menace.
3/31/2014 9:07:55 PM
megan kalu says:
Thank you, someone finally heard my letter to the editor.
3/31/2014 8:09:20 PM
redwings.ca says:
3/31/2014 8:02:10 PM
ring of fire dude says:
Yikes , a lot of poodle people commentators .
3/31/2014 7:56:50 PM
Itsnoaccident says:
I'm convinced these dog owners are a selfish breed. I walk my dog to the city owned off leash park and let him go in a safe enclosed area.

This has nothing to do with a "tax grab".
Thanks Ron but next time skip the public ed component and go straight to the fines.

3/31/2014 7:02:21 PM
mystified says:
Most people take their dogs for a walk on the trails and in the fields so the dog can crap and the owner doesn't pick it up. Some who live in an North Side apartment building take their dog out morning, noon and night to let it crap on the sidewalk they also don't pick it up.
And what is up with the conscientious person who takes the time to stop, bend over and bag yet throw the bag into the hedges on the next block.
3/31/2014 7:01:35 PM
bulldog says:
People go there because there is no designated off-leash area to truly WALK with your dogs. Not wade through a swamp, not stand around with too many dogs in a ball diamond, but actually get out and go for a walk or play fetch so the dog can get some exercise.

With all of the trails in this city, why aren't any designated off-leash for social, friendly dogs? This would give these people a place to go so they don't have to make their own dog parks.

There are many people (and other dogs) who do not want a strange dog approaching them, friendly or not. As a dog owner, I am happy to see this bylaw being enforced and hope that it continues all over the city.
3/31/2014 6:59:16 PM
musicferret says:
The off leash dog park on the old rail line downtown just off central.
There is a swamp on one side, but with proper training your dog will stay out. It is HUGE. You can walk almost a 1km in one direction. How big is big enough?

I feel bad for the people on FW side of town. Their 'dog park' is a tiny postage stamp with a fence around it and mud at the entrance most of the year and no shade. Boring and mucky for dogs and people alike.
3/31/2014 8:15:08 PM
bulldog says:
Have you been to a dog park in any other city? "nearly 1km" is nothing. The dogs should be able to run and chase a ball or get some exercise, not walk in heel in a straight line so they don't run through a swamp or run through some metal junk and get cut.

With so many hiking trails, how hard would it be to throw a sign up on one or two to let people know there will be off leash dogs so they can take another trail if they don't want to encounter them?

I'm not a "dog park" user, I just recognize the need for at least one GOOD off-leash recreation area/trail and would like the many dog owners who would use them to go there, instead of allowing their dogs off-leash all over the city.
3/31/2014 10:27:34 PM
Eastender says:
For what its worth, heres my take on this problem. The city does not owe dog owners a dog park. Dogs come in all shapes and differing temperaments. So tne law has to apply equally to all dogs. However, the use of discretion can be applied when it comes to fines.
A German Shepherd can easily kill a small dog, and its owner will have little control in this situation, I have seen and heard this situation several times. You want to own a dog, and I cant blame you, since they are great companions, you must assume the responsibility for this right. Dogs off leash infringe on other peoples rights to free passage, in a safe environment.
As for dog parks, I feel if the city provides them, there should be a suitable fee to help pay for fencing, and maintenence of the park.
Dont be surprised if your dog gets pepper sprayed by someone protecting themselves from a dog attack
4/1/2014 11:21:48 AM
SadButTrue says:
That park is no bigger than the other dog parks. It's actually quite small if you read the signs as to where the park ends. Theres a sign about a 1/4 of the way into the space that says the leash free park ends there so technically you could be fined if your dog is off leash any further in.
4/1/2014 9:22:45 PM
Dillon says:
The guy who let his dogs maul that kid last year thought they were harmless too. Give your heads a shake.
3/31/2014 6:51:36 PM
moonpie says:
Really. Wow. One serious incident in a city of 130,000 with approximately 35,000 dogs and you're going to try to judge all dogs and owners based on the actions of one. In human terms they'd refer to that as racism. In dog terms, they refer to it as stupidity.
4/1/2014 1:17:52 AM
dillon says:
That's just the one that made the news because it was a kid. People and other dogs get bitten and/or mauled often (bitten more than mauled), and the owner always says it's not in their dog's character to do things like that. Each time, the owner had probable never seen their dog do something like that. It's not racism against dog owners, it's "racism" against dogs. They are animals. Even the most docile dog can be triggered by *something*, and it might be unexpected. It's complete arrogance and hubris to believe that just because your dog is well-trained it will never react on instinct. The best trainers in the world will tell you to leash your dogs out in public, unless you're in a dog park, and only in a dog park if they're ready. Always. It's a matter of safety for others and for your dog as well.
4/1/2014 8:54:46 AM
AndersonSilvasLeg says:
It's actually not racist at all. It's bigoted.

We're not talking about race or ethnicity, we're talking about opinions.
4/1/2014 12:03:39 PM
dillon says:
That's why I put it in quotes.
4/1/2014 2:55:47 PM
AndersonSilvasLeg says:
Then why not use the correct term in the first place...?
4/2/2014 12:09:35 PM
tbayforlife says:
Why doesn't this city fine all the bums & vagrants that 'run at large' in the city too. They do a heck of a lot more damage and disservice to this community than a few dogs out for some exercise 'off the beaten path'.
3/31/2014 6:01:03 PM
Nivlacw says:
It's about time. I always see the bylaw officers driving around blvd, they would be much more effective getting out and walking the paths.

As a responsible dog owner it is frustrating when loose dogs run up an challenge my dog. Fortunately my dog can fend for itself even while on leash. Unfortunately the other dog always pays the price for their owners irresponsibility.
3/31/2014 5:40:28 PM
big joe mufferaw says:
And while we're at it, let's do something about the cats running at large. We've been tying up and leashing our dogs since the 1960s. Come on cat people, get with the program.
3/31/2014 5:31:06 PM
dethyr says:
Same goes for ball diamonds, we don't pay a ton of money to use the fields just to run over turds.
3/31/2014 5:24:57 PM
cob says:
“Running at large” is defined as “not being under the control of any person”. My dog is trained to come to me when called and is thus under my control, even when off-leash. How is this in contravention of the by-law?
3/31/2014 5:22:11 PM
TBAY Duffer says:
I support the city 100% on this one. You have to protect the public.

I am a dog owner, and it is our responsibility to ensure that our pets are under control at all times, when they are in a public space.

3/31/2014 5:13:49 PM
cob says:
The "Dog Parks" in this city are a bad joke! I suppose we shouldn't complain because up until a few years ago there were none, but what we have is totally inadequate for the exercise of an energetic dog. Maybe okay for ankle-biters but if you have a real dog, you need to exercise it. The dog parks are poorly fenced, in the summer they are poorly drained and except for Neebing, too small.
I can appreciate some of the complaints, but there are no bad dogs, just bad owners, and some people are just totally ridiculous in the way they react to a friendly dog. If it is staying away from you and just barking, just try to ignore him. As you walk away, he will stop. He thinks he is doing his job by warning his owner of a stranger, and so long as he isn’t aggressive, what is the harm? As for owners with aggressive dogs, don’t let them go free where there are other people with or without dogs. You’re just asking for trouble.
3/31/2014 5:08:11 PM
NowayJose says:
Come on…another way to complain! Most responsible dog owners (such as myself) will pick up after the pet. A fine for letting our 4 legged friends run and have some exercise is void. Whether it be on Municipal, Provincial or Federalist property, is something I will continue to do. My 4 legged family member is in no way vicious, unless its owner is provoked! Do you have the ability to arrest me (i.e. Police officer)? No. You will never stop me from allowing my pet from doing so. Good day.
3/31/2014 5:01:17 PM
serena says:
This story was posted on the internet today and on the local news at 6. At 7pm I could see that 2 dogs were running free across from my building on Arundel in the wooded area next to the LPH. So yes I am not surprised you will disobey the by-law as these people were flagrantly doing this evening....because they know that by-law enforcers will not be out in the evenings or weekends.
3/31/2014 8:13:02 PM
Young Professional says:
Have you ever tried playing fetch with your dog still on his leash?
3/31/2014 4:53:49 PM
Nivlacw says:
Playing catch with your dog can and should be done legally in an off leash park.
3/31/2014 5:35:35 PM
pylon says:
Actually, according to the COTB rules you can't..
3/31/2014 7:33:10 PM
cob says:
You are not supposed to bring toys to the dog park!
3/31/2014 8:25:19 PM
S Duncan says:
Commisso does it with council all the time.
3/31/2014 5:43:23 PM
thesupermotohooligan says:
Have you ever tried to enjoy riding your Fat Tire Mountain Bike behind the LPH with a large, aggressive dog not on a leash running toward you barking angrily with owner shouting to get control of a dog that is almost stronger than her and failing. Happened to me there on Saturday. Fine them all! Shut down their culture of entitlement.
3/31/2014 6:06:35 PM
S Duncan says:
what? the bike lanes aren't enough for you? you need to ride around people walking their dogs?

go play in traffic, its what the spandex crowd wanted, wasn't it?
3/31/2014 9:29:28 PM
fastball says:
And if some silly little hall monitor suggested to me where I should go bike - I'd laugh myself silly as I rode over his foot.
4/1/2014 7:34:23 AM
S Duncan says:
Oh goodie! A militant cyclist huh? You openly advocate for the hitting of pedestrians with your vehicle?

Shame, shame. You're a great representative of the cyclist community.
4/1/2014 8:49:25 AM
thesupermotohooligan says:
Uhhhhhh. I ride there since they are "my" mountain bike trails. I claim ownership of them like the dog walkers.

Guess we are going to war. Good thing my Fat Bike has Humvee like capabilities. Might need them in the heat of battle.

It is not my responsibility to get out of your dogs way. It is your responsibility to get your dog out of my way.

If you think otherwise. You are a irresponsible dog owner.

Ride on Fat Bikers.
4/1/2014 9:55:42 AM
Toot Sweet says:
I can see a fence going up soon with no trespassing signs all over it.

and you will have nobody to thank but yourselves.
4/1/2014 2:57:37 PM
whatelseisnew says:
That's not OUR problem! You want to play fetch? Buy a house with a YARD! City parks are not where you pull that kind of crap, not with kids around and people that are scared/have allergies! Take it home...to your apartment!
4/1/2014 9:50:17 PM
alarmforce says:
To"tothecloud" you want a break ?? You got it --- take it.
Give your head a shake, as well.
3/31/2014 4:48:41 PM
ring of fire dude says:
All fines going into City coffers/Renew ThunderBay/Events Center , one bark and poop at a time .
3/31/2014 4:48:29 PM
serena says:
It is about time. I complained about this years ago and nothing was done. I have been chased and confronted by barking dogs way too many times without so much as an "I am sorry" from the dog owners. This has gone on too long. I do feel badly for the dogs that have been trained to run free here. Hopefully the city will really enforce the by-law because unleashed dogs is a daily occurrence not only on the LPH grounds but in the wooded area between Arundel and Toledo and Boulevard Lake. I see it every day.
3/31/2014 4:01:27 PM
tothecloud says:
"Public Safety" give me a break. Just another cash grab.
3/31/2014 4:01:16 PM
whatelseisnew says:
It's the same as second hand smoke guys! It's all about public safety these days!! If I can get fined for smoking I'm beyond happy you can get fined for letting your mutt run at LARGE!
4/1/2014 9:46:11 PM
S Duncan says:
Sounds like Ron Bourette has a little bit of an attitude. Perhaps he should take a step back from making public statements?

If it was fine worthy before then his department should have been issuing them regardless of how he feels.

What kind of "law enforcement" picks and chooses when/where/and how they will enforce the laws? That sounds like favouritism or willful neglect of duties to me.

Laws must be equally and fairly applied to all because if you dont do that people will have no respect for it.
3/31/2014 3:56:28 PM
ou812 says:
Thats how law enforcement works... haven't you seen cops setting up speed traps in the city? They pick and choose all the time
3/31/2014 5:33:56 PM
Neebing1414 says:
handing out fines falls into the hands of the enforcement officer that is on the site at that time.. it is up to them to decide if a fine is needed or just a verbal warning

3/31/2014 6:32:44 PM
S Duncan says:
if the person is breaking the law, then a verbal warning vs issuing a fine is the uneven application of the law.

If they didn't break the law, no verbal anything required. If they did, write the fine and enjoy being laughed at.

If some little hall monitor tried writing me a fine you can bet I'd be laughing myself silly as I walked away.
3/31/2014 9:42:36 PM
alarmforce says:
I hope they will be enforcing the law in City parks, as well? Along with "Poop & Scoop" laws (which they have never enforced !!
How about cats, they are running loose as well?? All over the city, private property and killing birds and small animals for food ---- that their owners are too cheap to provide.
3/31/2014 3:55:43 PM
YellowSnow13 says:
It's always the dogs. What about the cats running free and crapping in yards. Why can't the city get on that for a while? I'm sure if my Rottweiler kills a cat on our property I'm the one in trouble. There are plenty of places that could be off leash areas in the city but I really don't think the city cares. They are more interested in building up the Marina for tourists. Ya. They are coming here in droves. It seems when it comes to off leash parks the decision makers think it a good idea to make little fenced in areas when what they need is a big area to walk around and has trees and water. But no. That's asking too much!
4/1/2014 9:46:17 AM
whatelseisnew says:
4/1/2014 9:43:29 PM
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