BRACEBRIDGE, ON – A proposed leash bylaw for the town of Bracebridge has more than a few residents hot under the collar.
An information session for the bylaw department to gather more feedback drew around 18 citizens to the town offices last Thursday. They offered perspective on the various iterations of the bylaw being proposed in a process that is happening because of a complaint last year.
Scott Stakiw, Chief by-law enforcement officer for the town said people are divided on what to do when it comes to dogs in town parks.
“It was about 50-50 split of people who are for and against an on-leash bylaw,” said Stackiw.
One portion of the bylaw changed recently that requires dog owners to keep their dogs on leash on any town sidewalk or roadway. In parks, however, dogs can currently run free as long as the owner is nearby and can call the dog and get it under control.
And it is not all non-pet owners seeking dog owners to control their pooch.
“Some dog owners don’t trust other dogs and want them on a leash,” revealed Stakiw.
The town has been seeking feedback through an online survey as well, though it is a more structured questionnaire seeking information on what parks are best suited for off-leash, rather than a hard question of yes or no to a leash by-law in general.
Currently, the Three Amigos park is a fenced area that allows for separate sections for large and small dogs.
In 2018 a member of the community brought the issue back to the forefront after sending a letter requesting the town revisit a leash bylaw.
Dogs are not permitted to be at large in the town, meaning, a dog out in the public with no leash and no visible owner in control of the animal. If animal control is called and a dog is collected or bylaw spotted a dog and determined who the owner was there could be a fine of $200.
Stakiw will be creating a report for the general committee where it will be put to a vote before a final passage at a future council meeting. The leash bylaw was last dealt with in 2013.
“There is far from a consensus,” offered Stakiw, who is unsure which way the public consultation will land the actual bylaw.