Kai Tolpinrud believes it is just a matter of time before someone is bitten by a dog at Marshall Fields.
Tolpinrud represents the North Okanagan Youth Soccer Association and the Vernon Soccer Association and said there have already be instances of dogs running onto the soccer pitch while people are playing.
He said last year, a child was nipped at by an off-leash dog.
Technically, dogs on the trail between the soccer fields and the creek must be on a leash, but most dog owners let their animals run free and at the last City Council meeting there was a request to officially make the area an off-leash dog park.
A counter-petition has been launched and in a few days several hundred people have signed it.
Tolpinrud said they are not against dogs, but feel by allowing dogs to run free will cause several problem.
“You never know what's going to happen. Is a kid going to get bit? There is dog poo all over the place. I don't think anyone wants their kid falling down in a pile of dog poo,” he said, adding dog droppings are found on the field “all the time” and he wonders how much worse it will be if more dogs are running free in the area.
“If dogs are running free then they have to put a fence up there,” he said. “But that won't prevent all the people who go into the parking lot, open up the door and let their dogs run onto the field.”
Tolpinrud suggested the off-leash area be allowed at the old Lakers Golf Course.
“Fence off an area where there are not children playing,” said Tolpinrud, adding more than 3,000 youths and adults use the fields for soccer alone.
“If you have an off-leash area you are going to invite more dogs down here and you are going to have even more problems with people who don't clean up after their dogs,” he said.
Tolpinrud believes some sort of solution can be found to benefit all parties.
The petition is in the lobby of the Vernon Toyota Indoor Sports Centre at Marshall Fields.