North Bay Mattawa Conservation Authority
Two people have been charged and fined $95 each under the Conservation Authorities Act for letting their dogs run off leash in the Laurier Woods Conservation Area (LWCA).
“There have been some near misses in the past with people being knocked over and owners with dogs on-leash being frightened and jumped on, so dog walkers who aren’t leashing their pets or are not scooping pet waste are now going to be charged,” said Troy Storm, Supervisor of Field Operations for the North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority (NBMCA) which co-owns LWCA with the Friends of Laurier Woods (FLW).
Last year’s “Love ‘em and Leash ‘em” education campaign kicks off again this week, but this year there will be more enforcement and fines issued for those not complying.
"Laurier Woods is a place for everyone to enjoy. And over the past few years, the number of incidents and altercations between dogs running lose and others is causing problems," said Randy Morrison, FLW Board member.
Laurier Woods is a 240 acre conservation area located in the heart of North Bay off Brule St. with more than 6km of trails for hiking and wildlife observation. It encompasses a provincially significant wetland, and is a sanctuary to a broad range of wetland and woodland creatures and migrating birds.
A Management Plan approved in 2004 identifies conservation, land-use planning, tourism, recreation, education and scientific research as key objectives of Laurier Woods. It is protected under the Conservation Authority Regulation 125.
“Seniors enjoy walking the trails, as well as joggers, nature photographers, and families with small children. This is not an environment that lends itself to dogs running off leash or to dog feces being left on the pathways,” said Morrison.
Dog owners are asked to be watchful of their pets as the city undergoes an outbreak of Canine Parvovirus. Running lose they can be exposed to the virus in feces as well as contact with other dogs who may be carriers of the virus. Parvo is around all the time, but is mostly likely to surface in the spring when dogs confined to the backyard over winter are taken out to parks and public trails.
Daryl Vaillancourt, executive director of the North Bay Humane Society sent out the alert in a news release on April 3 after the society had recently received three stray dogs suffering from the virus. All had to be euthanized and the dog wing at the society’s headquarters has been closed until further notice.
“Dogs and dog walkers are welcome to enjoy all our conservation area trails. But in fairness to everyone, for the safety of people and pets, and in keeping with the regulations, poop-and-scoop rules apply and pets must be leashed and under control at all times,” said Storm.
Radio spots, posters, poop-bag giveaways and information flyers will be handed out again as part of the Love ‘em and Leash ‘em Campaign. The North Bay Humane Society and the City of North Bay By-law Enforcement and Parks Department are partnering in the Campaign.