While this dog walker is wisely using a leash for a recent morning run

While this dog walker is wisely using a leash for a recent morning run

Dog complaints top bylaw issues in Harrison in 2013

Harrison's bylaw officer annual report includes berry bushes and parking woes

Dog complaints stacked up higher than any others in the Harrison Hot Springs in 2013, according to the Village’s bylaw officer.

Devlin Onucki presented a brief synapsis of the year to council on Monday, highlighting the top calls, providing some insight into local complaints and making a few suggestions for the future. Bylaw enforcement is complaint-driven, and over the past year, Onucki dealt with 75 written complaints. Of those, 21 were regarding dogs.

Onucki cited two separate incidents were dangerous dogs became a problem. At one home, a pair of German shepherds became too much for even the owner to handle. At another, two fenced, but unattended and aggressive pit bulls caused people to avoid using the Miami River trail system.

“People were avoiding the trail because the dogs were smashing against the fence,” Onucki said.

He asked council to consider looking at better defining the dog behaviors, “to clearly address the behaviors of the animal.”

Having a better definition in place in the bylaw would help bylaw officers in enforcement situations, he added.

As for leashing rules, he said that while tourists seem to comply easily, a small percentage of local dog owners walk their dogs off-leash. Onucki said this has caused little trouble, but recommended that the Village continue to require all dogs to be on leash in the Village.

But dogs weren’t the only issues that needed bylaw enforcement in 2013.

Empty lots being overrun with the Himalayan blackberry bust are a definite problem in the Village. The plant is aggressive, and can prevent indigenous trees and plants from growing. This could lead to rodent infestations, which cause problems from neighbouring properties. Tackling the issue takes up time and resources, he said, and he’s been working with property owners to have sites cleaned up.

Another main concern in the Village comes from parking violations. This is the number one infraction during the peak season, Onucki reported, with the highest ticketed area (50%) being the at boat launch.

The second highest area is Maple and Lillooet, where 30% of the tickets were handed out. A new yellow curb at the east end of the street is being ignored, he said. He suggested signage at the area to reduce unlawful parking.

“Tickets are a consequence after the fact and do not act as an effective deterrent at the time of the infraction,” he pointed out.

The biggest “parking” ticket was handed out to an unnamed boat owner who was using the municipal dock as a “personal dock.” Onucki reported that the boat owner was leaving his boat moored for several weeks at a time, despite being asked to move.

It was only after he was hit with multiple fines, totaling $1,000, that he eventually moved.