June 26th, 2006 - 12:26 PM
In recent weeks a discussion has arose regarding the creation of an off leash dog park here in Sault Ste. Marie.Ã?Â A lot of this has stemmed from an artile on Sootoday.com titled “Local Family accumulates $10,000 in unpaid doggie fines“.Ã?Â Basically in the Soo you can be fined if your dog is found to be on a leash that extends longer than six feet which means you cannot let your dog run free anywhere in the city (including all the large parks and nature trails we have) or use one of those retractable leashes that a large number of people seem to use now (unless you can somehow manage to keep it at a six foot lenght, anyone have a measuring tape with them?).
Part of the Dogs-at-large bylaw also states that you must pick up after your dog or you may also be fined.Ã?Â This I’m in agreement with as park areas, sidewalks and other locals I’ve brought Domino and Fozzie to seem to be riddled with dog droppings and it is annoying to have to tiptoe around the stuff.Ã?Â I found it to be more severe in the winter months heading out towards Topsail Island located at Bellevue Park.Ã?Â How long does it really take to pick up after your dog?Ã?Â And there’s plenty of waste cans around the parks to drop the bags in that it should be a non-issue.Ã?Â Please pick up after your dog.
Back to the dog park situation though.Ã?Â I am fully in support of a dog park in the Sault.Ã?Â Currently we’re still in the process of trying to get our fence up in our back yard for the pups but they are still tied up out front.Ã?Â They need to run and bringing them for walks on their six foot leashes simply don’t allow this.Ã?Â Domino loves to play fetch and you can’t really have a good game of fetch on a six foor leash or a twenty foot chain.Ã?Â He also seems to be interested in trying his luck at swimming but we haven’t been able to let him fully go in the water as I hold his leash every time he jumps in at Bellevue Park and he’s only able to go a short distance before I’m pulling him back to shore so that I’m not in the water with him.
An off leash dog park is a good thing.Ã?Â It will allow dogs to socialize with other dogs and be able to run free and get the full exercise that they need.Ã?Â Admittedly though if your dog does not get along well with other dogs you more than likely should not bring your dog to a dog park as this would be when trouble will occur.Ã?Â I also think that this may be what has caused people to start complaining about all the dogs on Topsail Island.Ã?Â We’ve brought Domino and Fozzie there often and have run into what seems an unlimited number of dogs on numerous occassions who all behaved fairly well together but then there are the small number of dogs who simply want to be dominate and don’t like others in their space.Ã?Â This small number of dogs may be what have “frightened” or “intimidated” the non-dog owners from enjoying the Island and this is unfortunate.
In my mind a dog park should first be a place for the dogs to be able to run free and enjoy themselves but the atmosphere should also be inviting for others to enjoy the surroundings as well.Ã?Â For the longest time I was a dog lover but didn’t own any because of certain circumstances but would like going on outings seeing many different dogs and getting to know them. I’m sure there are other people just like this who cannot own a dog for whatever reason but would love to be able to encounter dogs of many different breeds and sizes in a fun atmosphere.Ã?Â It might even be a good place for potential dog owners to go to ask questions of current dog owners regarding their general impression of their dog, the breed or anything else they’d want to know.
When the original story ran on Sootoday.com they also ran a poll asking readers “Should the Sault have a park where dogs don’t need to be on a leash?“Ã?Â and in surprising results to me the vote ended 46.06% yes, 44.34% no and 9.05% undecided.Ã?Â I’m going to jump out on the limb here and say that these results are what they are because the public had Topsail Island envisioned as the area of the dog park as that is what the original story stated as the possible location.Ã?Â I can understand people’s reasoning for not wanting this location to be deemed a dog park and possibly considered “off limits” to anyone without a dog.Ã?Â Topsail Island is a great location overall for any sort of park setting and with the many activities happening there it probably isn’t the best location for a dog park although it has many of the facilities you’d want for one.
Key features I’d like to see in a possible dog park in the Sault is a large area so your dog can be free to run, in a larger area you can still have a part of the land to yourself while other dogs can play somewhere else etc.Ã?Â This would be great if you’re trying to socialize your new pup but don’t want it to be overwhelmed by a large number of dogs.Ã?Â Basically take your pup to the dog park, bring it to a small area where a few dogs are and see how it reacts then move up to the more populated areas etc.Ã?Â I would also love to see the dog park have water around it, this doesn’t need to be a huge lake or river but just somewhere for the dogs to jump in and swim a bit or just wade in to cool off.Ã?Â It’ll be perfect for those hot days in the summer when our beloved companions need a break from the scorching sun.Ã?Â Trails and wilderness would also be an added bonus for the park but will probably be considered asking too much.Ã?Â So basically if there was an area set aside with large boundaries, some trees here and there for shade and a nice little water spot it would be perfect.Ã?Â Does anyone know of anywhere in the Soo like this?
There’s many other things that must be considered for the dog park as well.Ã?Â Funding is a key one, who will look after the maintenance etc?Ã?Â Searching online for other dog parks in Ontario I found one where they charge a membership fee for the dogs and they receive a dog tag which states they are a member of the park.Ã?Â You do not need to be a member of the park however to use it.Ã?Â This membership fee went to pay for the fence surrounding the park (paid initially by the city I believe) as well as the upkeep of the park and seems reasonable enough for the benefits that the park provides.Ã?Â This same park also has sponsors in the community to help offset the costs as well which are then displayed on a sign as you enter the park.Ã?Â Things like this need to be thought of and planned before people start screaming for or against the dog park.
Following are some quick links I found where more information about some dog parks can be read:
Quinte Dog Park
Trout Lake Off Leash Dog Park
Dog Parks in Ontario (descriptions of dog parks in various Ontario communities)
There’s so much more to say on this subject but I’ve already ran on quite a bit so I’ll hold back.Ã?Â I’d really like to hear others opinions on a dog park (good or bad) as well as those people who don’t live in the Sault and whether or not they have a dog park in their community and what they think of it.
I know there is currently a petition trying to get started (I think it can be found at the Trading Post) for the public to sign in favour of a dog park but I also believe that the petition is requesting Topsail Island as the location (which is a good/bad situation in my opinion).
I would also like to help out in some way in regards to a dog park but not sure what I can do at the moment.Possible Related Posts: