An Edmonton man has a warning for park and trail users in the city, after he was bitten by a dog.

Greg Doucette believes dog attacks are happening more frequently and in areas where dogs shouldn't be off leash. He wants the city to step up patrols.

Doucette spends a lot of time on city trails, training for marathons and mountain bike competitions. He says he’s been bitten four times in the last several years, but says the latest dog bite on July 19 was the final straw.

“I started yelling,” Doucette said.

“I wasn’t very happy about being bitten. It was quite painful and the dog proceeded to attack me again.”

Doucette put his bicycle between him and the dog to try and keep it away.

He says the owner kept calling it before finally get the pet on a leash.

Doucette says he’s concerned because it happened where dogs are required to be on a leash and that’s a bylaw he believes is being ignored far too frequently.

The city says it steps up enforcement in areas where there are increased reports of dog bites, attacks or chases.

“If we do see trending issues where there are a few reports coming from a certain area, we will try to reallocate resources in order to put signage out there and step up patrols in the area,” said animal control co-ordinator Keith Scott.

“As people know there are hundreds and maybe thousands of acres of green space and it’s virtually impossible to have us there at all times but we try to make sure that we are addressing areas where we see there is a trend. It’s important that people do report these things and we take dog attacks, chases and bites very, very seriously.”

The city says it can’t respond to problem areas unless incidents are reported but Doucette says more needs to be done. He says he’s been bitten four times in the past 10 years in both on and off-leash park areas.

“The problem is dogs aren’t always under control and I find that I’m being attacked,” he said.

“The four bites are just a small portion of the attacks. I’ve been collided into. I’ve been knocked over by large dogs. I’m finding myself leery of going into some of the trails.”

Dog owner Gigi Needham says she walks her dog several times a day. She admits she’s noticed an increase in dog owners breaking leash rules too.

“I have seen more. Most of them have been pretty good and stayed with owners but they don’t all stay, unfortunately,” Needham. “You have to be careful there are so many bikes and so many runners I can see where you would have a lot of accidents of dogs aren’t on a leash.”

Needham says off-leash areas are vital in a large city, especially for her dog Summer.

“I walk her three times a day but that’s not really enough for a puppy,” Needham said. “She needs more exercise than that.”

The city is currently reviewing its dog parks but Scott says most reported incidents happen away from off-leash areas.

“People need to know that they need to have their animals under control at all times whether they’re in an off-leash area and especially when they’re in a non-off-leash area. Especially in non-off-leash areas, people are under the assumption that they don’t have to watch out for dogs that the can around a corner or a sidewalk and not have to have a dog that comes out and startles them,” Scott said.

There have been 170 reported cases of dog bites, chases or attacks so far this year.

Last year saw more than 200 incidents reported.

“Hopefully that’s an indication of our messaging and that people understand the bylaws,” Scott said.

Doucette says the owner of the dog who recently bit him did offer to help with medical needs and provided Doucette with her contact information.

The woman has been issued a fine for the attack.

Doucette says he plans to bring up his concerns to city council this fall.

With files from Amanda Anderson

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