Dogs may run free in all city parks

 

Regardless of which side of the argument you’re on, I urge you to send a clear message to Councilor Mary Fragedakis letting her know your feeling about having dogs run free in Dieppe Park from 9pm to 9am.

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, a dog owner himself, has asked the parks and environment committee to study introducing off-leash hours at all parks.  Regardless of how you feel about this, I urge you to send a clear message to Councilor Mary Fragedakis letting her know your thoughts.

Currently, dog owners can let their pets run free at 54 designated off-leash parks. Minnan-Wong suggests letting dogs run free at all parks — the city has more than 1,400 — between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m.

“The current arrangement isn’t working,” he said Wednesday. “There aren’t enough off-leash areas.”

Minnan-Wong said if dog owners don’t live close to an off-leash park, they must struggle with the hassle of transporting their pets.

“It’ll be better for the dogs, for the owners, for everybody,” said Minnan-Wong, who’s heard complaints from many of his constituents.

“The number one users of parks are the dogs,” he said, adding it would be safe to have dogs off-leash during those off-peak hours.

“If kids are in the park after 9 p.m., they probably shouldn’t be there anyways,” said Minnan-Wong.

Prisca Ng, 27, owner of a border collie mix who lives near Little Norway Park at Bathurst St. and Queens Quay W., thinks it’s a great idea.

“We could go anywhere and not have to look for a specific park,” said Ng, noting Little Norway Park is on-leash.

She said there’s an off-leash park near her apartment, but when she stays at her friend’s home, she can’t get to one easily.

“Instead we just have to walk him along the sidewalk and it’s better for him to run free for exercise,” said Ng.

Brian Mainland, 28, agrees with Ng, explaining it’s important for bigger dogs to get proper exercise.

Mainland, who lives near Harbour Square Park at Bay St. and Queens Quay W., owns a small Dachshund and said he wouldn’t let him off his leash even if the rules changed.

“He gets really nervous and may bite another dog,” said Mainland.

Carole Therriault, 44, who has a 6-year-old son, said she’s concerned loose dogs may not only attack each other, but children as well.

“It’s a horrible idea,” said Therriault, who lives near Little Norway Park and isn’t a dog owner.

“You got kids that love to run around the parks,” she said. “Who knows what would happen if a dog was loose.”

Therriault said she’s worried “a child may get chased and bit” by a dog if the proposal goes through.

Therriault added if dogs run free, owners may not spot them “doing their business” and families would then stumble upon the mess.

As for considering the hours before 9 a.m. off-peak, Therriault said she personally loves to go to the park with her son bright and early, “when the sun’s shining and all is quiet,” and she sees other families there, too.

“I don’t think it’s safe,” said Therriault.

Minnan-Wong’s proposal will be discussed at the next parks committee meeting Nov. 9. A report on the feasibility of the proposal is expected by June 24, 2013.

My thinking on this topic is that we know there are irresponsible dog owners out there who do not pick up after their dogs even now.  With the cover of darkness and the ability of the dogs to do their business beyond the sight of their owners, we can reasonably assume that more dog crap will be left behind than ever before  ~ Ed.

You can contact Councilor Fragedakis at:

Community Office
East York Civic Centre
850 Coxwell Ave., Main floor
Toronto, ON  M4C 5R1
Office: 416-466-MARY (6279)
Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

councillor_fragedakis@toronto.ca

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Chris on November 1, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Ed, I’m sorry, but I find your comment about more dog crap in the park to be a broad generalization and I would say, inaccurate. I walk my dog in Dieppe often, I always pickup after her. I carry a flashlight when I walk her at night and do the same. I see other dog owners doing the same at Dieppe regularly. Moreover, I don’t ever step in dog crap when I’m at Dieppe which suggests to me that there isn’t a current problem with dog crapping in the park.

    I lived in Guelph before Toronto, and they had a similar policy to what’s being proposed for Toronto and it worked great. It wasn’t poopville.

    Thanks for running the blog, I think it’s great, just disagree with you on this point.

    Chris

    Reply

    • Thanks for the input Chris. While we may not agree, it’s important to have this discussion and let our councilor know what we, as individuals and groups, think about any plans that effect our parks – not only our park, but all across the city.

      Reply

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