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Thunder Bay dog walkers warned to leash pets

The city of Thunder Bay plans to crack down on some dog owners who don't keep their pets on a leash.

Bylaw officers to issue warnings, tickets in Boulevard Lake area

Jim and Margie Loppacher walk their dog, Zoe, along the trails behind Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital nearly every day. (Adam Burns/CBC)

The city of Thunder Bay plans to crack down on some dog owners who don't keep their pets on a leash.

The city's bylaw office says it will ticket those who let their dogs run free in the area behind Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital.

No tickets have been issued yet — only warnings, said department manager Ron Bourret.

"Right now it's education, and the officers, probably come nicer weather for us all, will spring into more aggressive enforcement,” he said.

“Especially if we now have on record that someone was given a warning, and this is the second time around."

Bourret said there are also plans to put up signs reminding people the area is not an off-leash park.

The councillor for Current River said people are upset about off-leash dogs in the Boulevard Lake area.

"People go there for enjoyment. They shouldn't feel intimidated or scared when … a dog comes up to them,” Andrew Foulds said.

But Jim and Margie Loppacher, who walk their dog, Zoe, along the trails behind Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital nearly every day, said they often let her run free, but quickly put her on a leash if they see someone approaching.

"We haven't had a problem, but we've only been doing this for 20 years,” Jim Loppacher said.

Loppacher said he and his wife have already been given a warning and acknowledged they “probably will get a ticket one day,” but said that wouldn't likely change their behaviour.

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