Thunder Bay, Ont. dog owners who let their pets roam the city's conservation areas are the target of a new enforcement campaign by the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority (LRCA).

The agency, which owns and operates the region's conservation areas, has been getting repeated complaints about off-leash dogs on its property.

So, the LRCA has teamed up with Thunder Bay animal services to patrol the conservation areas within city limits, and issue fines to pet owners who are letting their dogs roam free.

"We have a regulation in place that dogs must be on-leash when in a conservation area, and that goes for all of our areas," said Ryan Mackett, LRCA community stewardship and public relations officer. "We seem to have the most ... complaints about off-leash dogs from Cascades."

The complaints have led the LRCA to start patrolling Cascades, and the Mission Island Marsh area, with animal control officers, and actively enforce its rules regarding off-leash dogs.

"The LRCA owns, operates and maintains Cascades and our other conservation areas," Mackett said. "We have rules and regulations in place for our conservation areas to ensure the safety of our users, and ensure the safety of dogs in general ... as well as the safety and protection of the natural environment."

The enforcement is ongoing, Mackett said, and LRCA staff are joining animal services officers on the patrols.

"I think it's one of those things that happens because people assume they can just do it and nothing's going to happen," Mackett said. "We figured that the next step right now is for us to actually actively go out and enforce the regulations."