By Tim Kalinowski
Redcliff council addressed concerns about individuals abusing their offleash area privileges in River Valley Park at last Monday’s meeting. There have been complaints to the town about people not controlling their dogs properly in the designated offleash area, and also several complaints about individuals illegally allowing their dogs to go offleash in other areas not designated for that purpose.
Coun. Jim Steinke brought the issue up before council members to see if a solution could be found.
“I know I’ve been down there and there has been (incidents),” said Steinke. “You are supposed to be in control of your animals while they are offleash. Either we are going to have to police that a lot heavier or change the bylaw back (to have no designated offleash area).”
Council approved the new offleash area bylaw last fall, which only applies to the area immediately alongside the river to the boundary of the walking trail.
Coun. Chere Brown said she had personally witnessed people not respecting this boundary and allowing their dogs offleash in the golf course.
“I think it is possible for the bylaw officer to police this (offleash) area a bit better,” she said, “and I am also going to mention the golf course. I live across from the golf course and it is not an offleash area. Every single day now I see people walking their dogs in that golf course, and probably 90 per cent of them do not have leashes on. I just think it would be a good idea to have the bylaw officer control the (offleash and golf course) areas more stringently.”
Kim Dalton, Redcliff’s director of community and protective services, told council the bylaw officer had also received the same complaints about the Shale Trail, (another area where it is illegal to allow animals offleash), and was planning to police these areas more heavily to ensure the ompliance of offending pet owners.
Mayor Ernie Reimer said it was obvious there was an issue and steps would have to be taken.
“I know there is probably a problem down there, and I agree something should be done. For right now we should have the bylaw officer down there controlling that area on a more regular basis. If that doesn’t work we’ll have to look at the (offleash area) bylaw again and see if we have to make some changes,” he said.
Coun. Eric Solberg reminded councillors that the offleash area bylaw could be repealed if worse came to worse.
“As with any bylaw in the town, it can be repealed,” stated Solberg. “If we cannot enforce it properly, I don’t know if the threat of taking it away should be used, but it is certainly something we have to look at.”
To report an offleash infraction, lodge a vicious animal complaint or call in any other bylaw infraction witnessed in the community, residents can contact the town’s bylaw officer at 403-548-9246, on his cell at 403-581-8755, or through his email at firstname.lastname@example.org.