Metro Vancouver is imposing stiff new fines for dog owners who don’t keep a tight leash on their pets, the authority announced Friday.

Despite rules and regulations in the current Canine Code of Conduct, conflicts between dogs and owners continue to exist, park officials said. Metro Vancouver parks already require all dogs to be on a leash, except in designated off- leash areas. But problems with aggressive dogs attacking other pets or even children still occur.

“We need to make sure people feel safe when they come into the park whether they have a dog or not,” said Heather Deal, director for Metro Vancouver. “We have to have a tool to stop that. Fines are a way of doing that.”

On Friday morning, Metro Vancouver's board members unanimously adopted stricter guidelines to deal with aggressive pets. Fines for aggressive dogs have now been increased from $100 to a maximum of $1,000. Dogs considered to be dangerous may now be forced to wear a leash or a muzzle at all times.

“We really haven’t changed our approach to enforcement, we’ve just made sure we have the strongest possible fines in place in case we need them,” said Deal.

However, not all dog owners are convinced that the new guidelines will make a difference.

“Fines might help, but in the long run, I don’t think so” said Ross Styan.

“If it warrants a have to have it because if people don’t control the dogs, the dogs are not going to control themselves,” said Diana Styan.

The new requirements go into effect immediately.

For a link to the Metro Vancouver Bylaw regarding dogs, click here.

With files from CTV British Columbia's Scott Hurst