Quinte Conservation considers banning dogs from its trails

Quinte Conservation is considering banning pets in all its conservation areas after receiving complaints about misbehaving four-legged friends, as well as their owners.

Conservation authority says it has received many complaints about dog behaviour

Pups like this little guy named Hilton may no longer be allowed in conservation areas managed by Quinte Conservation. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Quinte Conservation is considering banning pets at its conservation areas in Quinte, Napanee and Prince Edward County after receiving complaints about misbehaving four-legged friends, as well as their owners. 

"​We're getting a lot of complaints from families who will no longer come to our conservation areas with their children because they're being attacked by dogs and their kids are afraid," said Terry Murphy, general manager of Quinte Conservation, in an interview with CBC Radio's Ontario Morning. "We're getting dogs that are harassing wildlife."

Murphy added he's also heard from people concerned their dogs might be attacked by coyotes or bears. Dogs on leashes should be safe, but if they're running around freely, attacks by wild animals are a possibility, Murphy said. 

Another problem, he noted, is dog owners refusing to pick up poop.

"There are people who are tired of seeing the litter on the trails, the dog waste," Murphy said. "One of the big issues is that people are picking up the waste, putting it in those little blue bags, then they just leave the blue bag on the trail or in the woods. We all know what happens to animals if they eat plastic."

Security patrol hired

Quinte Conservation has issued several press releases and put up signs asking people to keep their dogs under control and take garbage and waste out of conservation areas, Murphy said.

They've hired security staff in previous years and are doing the same this year — patrolling will begin this May long weekend. The security guards will be able to charge visitors for not keeping their dogs on leashes or for littering, and can even charge people for trespassing.

The authority is also mulling banning pets from its conservation areas entirely, and has received Facebook messages and emails in favour of the idea, Murphy said.

The possibility is unfortunate, he added, because a lot of people do obey the rules. 

"We don't want to ban dogs from our parks but when it comes to safety of children and people who just want to enjoy the areas, our board may not have a choice," he said.

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