Baille Ard trail users warned to leash dogs
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality is cracking down on dog owners who let their pets run without a leash along a popular trail system.
The municipality has told the SPCA to start patrolling the Baille Ard trail, a three-kilometre path in the centre of Sydney.
People who don't leash their dogs face a minimum $165 fine.
"The warning period is over," said Rick Fraser, the municipality's bylaw enforcement officer. "Tickets have to be issued."
For months, a debate raged over whether dogs should be allowed to run free. Some people questioned whether the municipality's dog bylaw applied on the provincially owned trails.
Fraser said it's no different than if a dog bit somebody in the parking lot of a provincial building.
"So the dog bylaw still applies," he said. "The province has, in their wisdom, given us written qualification to go on their property and do it."
New signs have been posted along the trail system warning dog walkers to leash their pets.
Recently, Vivienne Christiens let her dog run loose. She said there are very few places where she can do this.
"I have never seen any dogs create trouble here," she said.
But jogger Kathy Milburn is pleased to see the signs go up.
"I come here often with my young daughter and she's very nervous of the young dogs when they are loose and they aren't being controlled by their owners," said Milburn.
The SPCA will not say how often its officers patrol the trails.