Dog owners risk fines for off-leash violations

Pound officers boost enforcement at Saanich parks

Control your dog or face the fines. That’s the message from Saanich pound officers, who are ready to dole out fines ranging from $100 to $1,000 to non-compliant dog owners.

“We’re getting more and more complaints from non-dog owners using the parks and (having) dogs running up to them,” Saanich pound officer Susan Ryan said. “Some people are just deathly afraid of dogs. Other people just don’t want to figure out if a dog’s friendly or not.”

Improved summer weather sees more dog owners out and about with their pets and more people out enjoying parks. Saanich’s three pound officers respond to five dog attacks on average daily – either biting or clawing of humans or other dogs – throughout the season, yet general control remains a larger issue.

Dogs are allowed off leash at most Saanich parks, but Ryan said owners need to rein in animals that don’t respond to voice commands.

Summer beach regulations are also in effect. Dogs are banned on most of Cordova Bay and Cadboro Bay beaches throughout the day, starting at 9 a.m., and at all times in Whitehead Park and the beach at Mount Douglas Park.

Additionally, dogs are prohibited year-round from Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary and Quick’s Bottom Park.

“Everybody’s welcome to use the parks, but don’t let your animal impede the rights of others,” Ryan said.