• John Jantak

Additional St. Lazare security personnel should help to stem dog leash violations

PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

A St. Lazare resident said the town isn’t doing enough to prohibit unleashed dogs from roaming along a bike path by the hydro servitude in the Saddlebrook district.

An alleged lack of action from the Town of St. Lazare’s public security department to dissuade dog owners from allowing their pets to roam free off-leash and not cleaning up after them prompted a Saddlebrook homeowner to share his story with Your Local Journal.

Steve, who requested not to have his last name published, said his issue deals with dog owners who allow their pets to roam unleashed and don’t clean up after them along a gravel bike trail within a hydro servitude in the Saddlebrook area that runs from Côte St. Charles to Bedard Avenue.

He is also concerned that unleashed dogs could stray into neighbouring backyards because most people don’t have fences. “The bike path was a great idea and the town did an excellent job with it,” said Steve. “But people come to the trail and let their dogs roam unleashed. The dogs do their business anywhere they want and their owners don’t clean up after them.

“I’m concerned because you don’t know how a dog will act after they are let off their leash,” Steve added. “Are they going to chase a kid? Do we have to wait for an accident to happen before something is done? We don’t need to do that.”

Most of the leash violations occur before 7 a.m. and in the evening on weekdays and throughout the day on weekends, according to Steve.

Email correspondence between Steve and city officials that began last November to advise them of the situation with dogs culminated with a response from Mayor Robert Grimaudo in April who suggested that any violations that are spotted should be reported to the Sûreté du Québec (SQ).

The mayor’s suggestion is impractical, said Steve. “My correspondence ended there and I did not pursue it because if I were to call the SQ for every time for an unleashed dog, how much credibility would I have and when would they show up? Let’s be honest, the person will be long gone before they arrive and the SQ has other business to do. I’m not going to bother them with a dog off-leash,” he said.

Grimaudo agreed there is a problem with dog owners who allow their pets to roam unleashed on the bike path and said the town is limited as to what it can do because it only has three inspectors to patrol its entire territory to enforce its by-laws.

“Unfortunately, as I’ve said before, we cannot legislate common sense,” said Grimaudo. “There are a lot of people who are using that trail that are not respecting the town’s by-laws. I don’t have the answer right now as to how we can properly monitor the situation. Hopefully the additional public security personnel we will hire for the summer will help.”

The extra security staff the town hires during the summer season should aid in curbing by-law violations because personnel will now have the authority to hand out fines, said Grimaudo, who added dog leash violations should still be reported to the SQ.

“It’s not within the SQ’s list of priorities, but when a violation is spotted the best thing to do is to call them,” he said.

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