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20

Jul 2016

Work Begins on Transcona’s New Dog Park!

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Plans for Transcona’s new one-acre neighbourhood dog park were approved by the East-Kildonan  – Transcona Community Committee today.

Facebook1It’s the first dog park ever to be built in a new subdivision – a joint venture between the City of Winnipeg and Genstar, the developer of Devonshire Village. It’s also the first new dog park the City has created since Brenda Leipsic opened in 2008.

Landscaping and grading of Devonshire Dog Park will begin this summer.  Russ Wyatt, the city councillor who made it happen by making a dog park a requirement of Genstar’s application, says he’s excited that it’s finally happening.

The fully fenced, off-leash area was designed with the safety and comfort of all dogs and dog owners in mind. There’s an area for dogs over thirty pounds and a separate area for smaller dogs.

Both enclosures have a double-gated entry/exit system to ensure that dogs near the gates cannot escape as new visitors enter the park.  The system also allows people to safely leash and unleash their dogs when they enter or leave the enclosure.

Plans for the model dog park include some welcome amenities – a waste bag dispenser, a high-capacity underground waste bin, trees and benches.

Facebook2Devonshire Dog Park will officially open in 2017.

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15

Mar 2016

A Community Working Together for a North End Dog Park

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A Community Working Together for a North End Dog Park

 

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A beloved North Ender with no place to play

Photo credit: Nicole Joy

A group of North End dog lovers want the City to create a fenced off-leash dog park in their neighbourhood, a project organizers say will bring about real change for people and dogs that live in the area. WINDOG is there to support them.

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Photo credit: petMD

“Friends of a North End Dog Park” is asking the City to designate a patch of unused green space in the Old Exhibition Grounds near Dufferin and Sinclair. The site has served as an unofficial neighbourhood dog park for years but people who let their dogs off-leash risk hefty fines.

In the past three days, 150 people have signed the “Friends of a North End Dog Park” petition. 9 businesses and community organizations have lent their support by making the petition available for community residents to sign.

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Meet Me at the Bell Tower AYO event March 11, 2016

Supporters can sign the petition at the following locations:

  • Aboriginal Vision for the North End – 586 Selkirk Ave

  • Animal Hospital of Manitoba – 995 Main St.

  • Bird Shop & Aquarium – 1034 Main Street

  • Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre – 318 Anderson Ave

  • McPhillips Animal Hospital – 2211B McPhillips St.

  • North End Family Centre – 1344 Main Street

  • Pet Valu –  2136 McPhillips

  • Seven Oaks Veterinary Hospital – 1830 Main Street

  • YMCA – 363 McGregor (daytime only)

New sponsors are coming on board and locations can change so please check this site before you make a special trip to sign the petition.

Why a North End dog park?

Winnipeg Animal Services estimates there are about 112,000 dogs in the city. Many live in the North End.

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Supporter of a North End Dog Park, Minister of Jobs and the Economy and life-long North End resident, Kevin Chief with his family and Buddy

Photo credit: Winnipeg Free Press

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Photo credit: Jane Beauchamp, The Noble Hound

Nicole Joy, one of the organizers, says the neighbourhood has needed an off-leash dog park for a very long time. “We need a place where people can go to socialize their dogs properly, where dogs can be around other dogs and people. It’s hard to socialize your dog by walking it on-leash on the street”.

Joy points to a number of neighbourhood issues.

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Photo credit: Shepherd and Bengal

  1. There are no off-leash dog parks in Winnipeg’s North End and there are none within walking distance.

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Photo credit: Miriadna

  1. A high percentage of dog owners who live in the North End do not have vehicles and have no way to take their dogs to off-leash areas in the suburbs, where dog parks are located. The closest dog park is Woodsworth, near Selkirk Avenue and Route 90. Little Mountain and Kilcona are also popular off-leash areas, but all of these parks are out of reach for North End dog owners who don’t have vehicles.

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Photo credit: Miriadna

  1. Many North End dogs never leave their own yards. As a result, they are poorly socialized and under-exercised.

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Photo credit: Miriadna

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Photo credit: Miriadna

 Why are off-leash dog parks good for communities?

Everyone benefits from off-leash area dog parks.

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Photo credit: Kevin King, Winnipeg Sun

  • Dog parks reduce the number of dogs on streets, in parks and other public places, minimizing contact between dogs and people who don’t like or are afraid of dogs.

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Photo credit: Vince Pahkala Photography

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Photo credit: Vince Pakhala Photography

  • Off-leash dog parks foster good canine citizenship.

    • Dog parks are where dogs learn social skills.

    • A well-socialized dog is less apt to bite.

    • A well-socialized dog is less likely to be fearful or aggressive toward strangers.

    • A well-socialized dog doesn’t feel the need to display dominance with other dogs.

  • A tired dog’s a good dog!

    • Many undesirable dog behaviors are caused by a lack of physical and mental activity.

    • Dogs that exercise strenuously are better neighbours; less prone to excessive barking, destroying property, and biting.

  • Dog parks stimulate social interaction because dogs are great icebreakers. Dog parks help neighbours get to know each other, foster friendships and strengthen communities.

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Photo credit: Jeff Henry

  • Dog parks encourage healthy activities and reduce public health care costs. They help people lose weight, lower cholesterol, ease stress.

  • Dog parks provide a safe option for seniors and those who find it difficult to walk a dog on leash.

  • The presence of people and dogs has been shown to deter crime and vandalism in adjacent areas.

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Photo credit: EgoPet

Please show your support for a fully fenced off-leash dog park in Winnipeg’s North End!

You do not have to be a dog owner to benefit.

Happy days at the dog park!

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Photo credit: Kathy Frost

For more information check out “Friends of a North End Dog Park’s Facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/WinnipegNorthEndDogPark/

23

Feb 2016

City of Winnipeg Animal Services Agency – A Dog’s Best Friend!

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City of Winnipeg Animal Services Agency – A Dog’s Best Friend!
Over the past month WINDOG has received a few complaints from dog owners who failed to renew their licenses. As a result of Winnipeg Animal Services’ “Spot” checks, these dog owners received a hand-delivered $231.25 fine.
Some observers mistakenly view the fine as cash grab, however none of the revenue from fines goes to Animal Services. The fine is paid to directly to the Provincial Department of Finance to cover court costs and the city’s legal fees.
For the record, WINDOG and its member organizations fully support Animal Services’ Zero Tolerance licensing policy. Funds raised through the sale of licenses have allowed Animal Services to transform Winnipeg’s former dog pound into a virtually no-kill facility where lost and abandoned dogs are fed and sheltered.

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Nine-week-old Mandy cuddles with an Animal Services Officer after the puppy was thrown from a moving vehicle.
Photo credit: City of Winnipeg

Ninety-five per cent of the dogs that are picked up and taken to the shelter are either reunited with their owners, adopted, or sent to a local animal rescue. Only animals considered too aggressive or terminally ill are euthanized. Since the Zero Tolerance policy was introduced the number of dogs euthanized has dropped dramatically. In 2008, 359 dogs were euthanized. By 2014, that number dropped to 52.

Animal Services estimates there are over 112,000 pet dogs in Winnipeg. About 50,000 are currently licensed.

Animal Services COO, Leland Gordon, makes it clear that license fees generate the revenue the City of Winnipeg needs to deliver services to pets and pet owners. “When you pay your $32 for a dog license you’re protecting your dog – but you’re also paying for a system that provides the services the community needs.” Animal Services depends on license fees to run its operations.

• Animal Services houses and cares for lost and abandoned pets.

Most pets never get loose and go missing. No one plans to have a break-in, house fire, or car accident; no one expects a gate left open or a freshly dug escape tunnel under the backyard fence. Licensing your pet is about providing it with protection in the rare event it does get lost. Licenses are $32 for spayed/neutered dogs and $68 for intact ones; $15 for spayed/neutered cats and $50 for intact ones.

The City of Winnipeg has Animal Services in place to be the facility where Winnipeggers can take stray dogs and the Winnipeg Humane Society through a service agreement as the facility where Winnipeggers can take stray cats.

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Adorable adoptables Noah and Eva were found near the corner of Ellice and Wall
Photo credit: City of Winnipeg

• Animal Services re-unite lost pets with their owners.

The agency receives more than 12,000 calls for service a year. In 2014, thanks to mandatory dog licensing and the agency’s “Free Ride Home” program, Animal Services returned 671 dogs to their owners. 646 more were reunited with their owners by 311 operators without setting foot in the Animal Services facility.

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• Animal Services’ Adoption Program allows dogs to be adopted into new families instead of being euthanized.

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Animal Services Adoption/Volunteer Coordinator Lorna Verschoore with adoptive family
Photo credit: City of Winnipeg

• Animal Services funds emergency veterinary care for injured lost and abandoned animals and provides transportation to a veterinary facility.

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• Animal Services funds spay and neuter programming, including the FIXIT grant program designed to encourage non-profit community organizations, veterinary clinics, animal hospitals and educational institutions to undertake quality programs to spay and neuter high volumes of cats at a low cost to the community.

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• Animal Services provides a 24/7 emergency response service to police and fire fighters, attending house fires, car accidents, and police assists to remove and care for animals.

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A matted cat pulled from the ashes by firefighters is transferred to Animal Services.
Photo credit: Winnipeg Free Press

Animal Services also uses revenue from the sale of pet licenses to:

• educate the public about responsible pet ownership
• pick up stray animals, including dogs that have attacked people.
• resolve neighbourhood disputes regarding animals

Visit www.winnipeg.ca/animalservices to license, adopt, or volunteer

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12

Feb 2016

Erosion of Winnipeg’s Off-Leash Recreational Green Space

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WINDOG has called on City Council to address the alarming loss of Winnipeg’s off-leash recreational green space by ensuring adequate funding is available in the 2016 Capital Budget for the city’s first comprehensive off-leash area management plan.
Off-leash space continues to shrink rapidly under the watch of a recently elected “dog-friendly” Mayor and Council. Over the past few years the city has lost approximately 35% of its off-leash space.

Erosion 1
Despite the City’s highly-publicized plan to open a new half-acre dog park in the downtown area and another one-acre park in Transcona, Winnipeg’s off-leash green space continues to shrink at a disturbing rate. In recent months 40 acres of off-leash space has been lost at Brenda Leipsic and 12 more at the dog park known as Sturgeon and Silver. Dog owners have done the math – 1.5 acres gained, 52 lost. Some of the loss is temporary; some is permanent.

Erosion 2a    Erosion 2b

While the City administration is unable to provide exact figures, municipal maps indicate at least 80 acres of off-leash space were lost when Little Mountain and Maple Grove were reduced by more than half their original size and Transcona’s Buffer Zone and Stephen Juba dog parks were closed.

Erosion 3

With the latest closures at Brenda Leipsic and Sturgeon and Silver, Winnipeg’s off-leash green space has shrunk from approximately 380 acres to less than 250. Moreover, the distribution across the city is uneven; over half of the City’s off-leash space is at Kilcona Park.
The 12 acre off-leash dog park at the intersection of Sturgeon Road and Silver Avenue in northwest Winnipeg was closed last August for the construction of a traffic roundabout to improve traffic flow.

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Sturgeon and Silver intersection before roundabout

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Plan for roundabout construction

Sturgeon and Silver Dog Park lies on the western fringe of Murray Industrial Park. The off-leash area is located on land that the City has designated as a street right of way. That means this parcel – like Charleswood, is not reserved for parkland or green space, but rather for road construction.

In recent years there has been much activity near Sturgeon and Silver, including construction of a four-lane divided expressway to serve Winnipeg’s growing inland port. In 2013, CentrePort Canada Way opened, with an extension to Sturgeon. Silver Avenue will also be extended. The current closure of the dog park is temporary, but at some point, the closure will be permanent.

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Nancy Ellen Noren organized a petition, protesting the construction of the roundabout and lack of public consultation.

On January 21, the City closed Brenda Leipsic Dog Park for construction of the Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor through the Parker Wetlands. Leading up to the closure, WINDOG joined the Brenda Leipsic Dog Parkers, the Winnipeg Humane Society, the Parker Wetlands Conservation Group, dog owners and area residents, in appealing the Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship’s decision to issue environmental licenses to the City. The province hasn’t ruled on the appeal but Manitoba Hydro has begun work to relocate its transmission lines in preparation for corridor construction.

Erosion 7
The City will re-open a much smaller version of Brenda Leipsic Dog Park in the fall of 2019. At 20 acres, the new off-leash area will be half the size of the original dog park.

Critics say that, in downsizing Brenda Leipsic, the City has not taken into consideration the significant increase in the number of people and dogs that will be using the park when a new residential development opens across the street from the off-leash area. Their concern is that the replacement dog park is not large enough to accommodate the increase in use.
The closure of Brenda Leipsic leaves River Heights-Fort Garry ward without any off-leash space. A temporary dog park, which Gem Equities architect Lawrence Bird describes as “unofficial”, has been established on private land owned by real estate developer, Andrew Marquess.
Dog owners have access to the area until Gem Equity begins construction of approximately 1700 low, medium and high density residential units. Gem Equities held an open house last night to unveil conceptual plans for development of the Oak Grove subdivision.

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Gem Equities open house board. Yellow – Oak Grove subdivision which serves as a temporary, unofficial off-leash area. Green – City of Winnipeg 2019 replacement dog park.
Great cities have great parks for all their citizens. Mayor Bowman and those City Councillors who have identified themselves as “dog friendly” need to fulfil their commitment to provide high quality off-leash recreational green space if they expect the support of Winnipeg dog owners.
Council’s first step is to ensure that adequate funding is available in the 2016 Capital Budget for the city’s first comprehensive off-leash area management plan. Its second obligation is to stop the practice of establishing temporary off-leash areas like Sturgeon and Silver and Brenda Leipsic on road allowances and Hydro easements and create permanent dog parks located on designated parkland.

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20

Jan 2015

Brenda Leipsic Park – Letter of Appeal

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The following is the letter that was sent to Gord Mackintosh on Jan 16, 2015

Brenda Leipsic bulletin board

January 16, 2015

Winnipeg Network of Dog Owner Groups
246 St. Anne’s Road
Winnipeg, MB
R3M 3A4
VIA EMAIL: minconws@leg.gov.mb.ca

Gord Mackintosh – Minister
Conservation and Water Stewardship
330 Legislative Building
450 Broadway
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0V8

Attention: Minister Gord Mackintosh

Re: Environment Act Licence No. 3121 – City of Winnipeg – Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor – Stage 2
The Winnipeg Network of Dog Owner Group Inc. (WINDOG) appeals your decisions:

a. To issue Environment Act Licence No. 3121 dated December 18, 2014 to the City of Winnipeg for the development of the Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor (SRTC), as submitted by Dillon Consulting on behalf of the City on April 17, 2014.

b. Not to recommend a public hearing for this project on the grounds that environmental concerns raised by the public have been addressed through the mitigation measures outlined in the proposal and in the conditions of the licence.

WINDOG is an incorporated not-for-profit organization whose mandate is to advocate the establishment and maintenance of humane off-leash recreational opportunities; and sound off-leash legislation, policies, practices and issues on behalf of Winnipeg dog owners. Our members are Winnipeg off-leash dog park stewardship groups.

The Parker Wetlands is home to Brenda Leipsic Off-Leash Dog Park, a 6.45 hectare (15.94 acre) enclave that was designated in 2008 in recognition of former Deputy Mayor Brenda Leipsic’s work in establishing the park and her commitment to providing children, families and their pets with safe, beautiful places to play. It is the only off-leash area in south-west Winnipeg and is a central location for hundreds of dog owners who live in that area of the city.

WINDOG is concerned that Winnipeg’s high-quality off-leash recreational green space be preserved. We insist that the local community that uses the park and the broader community of citizens concerned with the protection of this special natural area have the right to be consulted. Key stakeholders include our own organization, the Brenda Leipsic Dog Parkers off-leash area stewardship group, the Winnipeg Humane Society and the Parker Wetlands Conservation Committee.

Most of Winnipeg’s off-leash areas are located on marginalized lands – former landfills, road allowances, lands adjacent to rail lines and in the case of Brenda Leipsic, along a hydro line. In the absence of a comprehensive off-leash area management plan, the City administration has no framework for decisions it makes regarding the establishment, closure or relocation of Winnipeg’s dog parks. Each decision is made on an ad hoc basis. The City does not consult with the public before closing or downsizing off-leash recreational green space. With the routing of the Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor – Stage 2 through the Parker Wetlands, Brenda Leipsic Dog Park be closed. The City has not consulted with dog park users regarding its plan to designate an alternate off-leash area in the neighbourhood. The people that use the park need to be consulted before a final decision is made.

Public consultation is based on the well-established public policy principle that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process. Stakeholder engagement is a vital part of democratic governance. WINDOG is concerned that the consultation process that was followed with respect to this license application makes a mockery of that principle.

A public hearing is a mandatory requirement of the Manitoba Public-Private Partnership and Transparency Act and therefore it was a requirement for the City of Winnipeg when it applied to the P3 Canada Fund for the SRTC – Stage 2 for federal funding. I attended the “public hearing” held by the City’s Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works (IRPW) on June 3, 2014. The purported hearing failed to comply with provincial requirements. The Councillors present – Swandel, Sharma and Gerbasi – did not even attempt to make a serious presentation about the scope and magnitude of a project estimated to cost over $1 billion over the next thirty-five years. Registered citizens were allowed ten minutes to make comments and ask questions. They were told not to expect answers and they received none.

Although WINDOG is aware that the Environmental Approvals Branch considers the location of off-leash dog parks to be outside the scope of the Environmental Act review process, we nevertheless request that a public hearing for this project be convened on the grounds that the City of Winnipeg’s June 3, 2014 did not provide a reasonable opportunity, as required by law, for members of the public to comment and have their questions and concerns addressed about the costs, benefits, viability and risks associated with the project.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter- your time is appreciated.

Sincerely,

Jordan Lobe
President – Winnipeg Network of Dog Owner Group Inc.

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