I see WINDOG promotes responsible off leash park stewardship. I hope this includes producing and communicating a clear set of expectations for dog handlers and the general public. It seems that many people think “off leash” means “no control” or intervention over some potentially irritating or even dangerous behaviour. At the other extreme, many people are ignorant of canine behaviour and culture and do not recognize and/or are fearful of normal occurrences.
I would think WINDOG could advance its aims more coherently by procuring, advertising and educating everyone about acceptable off-leash etiquette. I have been to off-leash parks elsewhere that do this consistently.
Above all, the message has to be one of responsibility and good will on the part of the dog handlers, not micro-managed legalism
See what you can do.
WINDOG and all of its member off-leash dog park stewardship groups promote responsible pet ownership. Our member organizations work closely with Winnipeg Animal Services to ensure dog owners know what’s expected when they visit the city’s off-leash areas. In 2012 the three existing organizations established a working group to create and publish “Pet-iquette – A Guide to Park Etiquette and Safety”. The brochure was approved by Winnipeg Animal Services and contains the clear set of expectations for dog handlers and the general public that you’re looking for. It is distributed through veterinary clinics and shelters and rescues, who include it in their adoption packages. It is also available at WINDOG, Maple Grove Park Dog Owners Association, and Kilcona Park Dog Club’s websites – – http://windog.ca/pet-iquette/ – http://www.maplegrovedogpark.ca/rules.html – http://kilconaparkdogclub.ca/pet-iquette/. The brochure is also posted on dog park bulletin boards and is distributed directly to dog owners at parks and at public events. Winnipeg Animal Services signage at dog parks carry the same messages, reminding users of the City’s Responsible Pet Ownership By-law regulations for off-leash areas.
Thank you for your reply. It does not address the larger concern of avoiding unnecessary “legalism,” however. For example, in the city’s largest and most heavily used off leash park, a park rarely attended by non-dog owners, where common sense and good will prevail in the caregiving of our canine companions, the Animal Services Police are regularly “called” by a single visitor who demands the letter of the law be obeyed: to wit, there is no swimming allowed in the natural pond at this park, according to the “Police,” despite the fact that only dogs wish to swim in it, because “they will be off leash.” This is the kind of absurdity that has to be challenged. Control of ones animal does not always require a leash, nor does it mean allowing an antagonistic citizen to ruin the enjoyment of thousands.
It is a complex issue, but one I hope WINDOG is interested in engaging with.
I’m not quite sure where to begin in responding to the issues you’ve raised about Kilcona Dog Park.I think it’s appropriate that I disclose that I am not only the Vice President of WINDOG but also the President of Kilcona Park Dog Club, an advocacy organization with over 500 members, representing dog owners who use Kilcona’s off-leash area.
KPDC is Kilcona’s official park steward through the City’s Adopt-A-Park program.
Kilcona’s water features, which you’ve described as “natural” are, in fact, far from natural. The retention ponds are man-made features designed to filter out contaminants like pesticides, herbicides, gas, oil, street salts and other toxins that are carried in runoff into streams, rivers and lakes. The purpose of retention ponds is to “retain” these contaminants. There is an additional risk at Kilcona because it is a former landfill. There are methane springs underlying the ponds and toxic leachate may also be escaping from the landfill into the ponds.
In short, the retention ponds in Kilcona’s off-leash area are some of the city’s most contaminated bodies of water, with alarming levels of fecal bacteria. They are not safe for dogs. Veterinarians in Kilcona’s catchment area report dogs are developing serious gastrointestinal diseases – bloody stools and vomiting blood – from swimming in or drinking Kilcona pond water.Dogs have also developed urinary tract and nasty skin diseases. Some have lost all of their hair.
In September KPDC had the pond water tested and found that E. coli bacteria levels at the popular “Dog Launch” on the south canal reached 4600 bacteria per 100 millilitres of water — more than 46 times Agriculture’s safety limit set for drinking water for livestock, 23 times Health Canada’s recommended safe limit for swimmers and more than four times Health Canada’s limit for secondary recreational users, such as canoeists, kayakers and paddle boaters.
As part of KPDC’s responsible pet education program, our organization has warned dog owners to keep their pets out of the ponds. Today – at KPDC’s request – the City installed additional water quality signs in Kilcona’s off-leash area. The signs explicitly warn that the water is not fit for people or animals to swim in and that it is not safe to eat the fish. It’s not even safe for watering lawns.
As a safe health alternative to the retention ponds, KPDC is fundraising to bring clean, fresh drinking water into the park, and to install a splash pad.
Finally, our Board of Directors works closely with Winnipeg Animal Services. We are unaware of a single instance where an Animal Services Officer has been called to the park to deal with dogs swimming in the ponds.
Dear Stakeholders of little Mountain Dog Park:
We are proud to announce the formation of the Little Mountain Park Conservancy Group Inc.
The rich history of Little Mountain Park as a unique cornerstone for the City of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba makes it a valuable asset that needs to be protected. The Park’s naturalized environment supports three-at -risk plant species. Another endangered species, the Leopard Frog, is making a rebound in the Province of Manitoba because of the protection of wet land habitats like our Quarries. In addition, the Park provides a nurturing physical, emotional and spiritual environment for the citizens of Manitoba.
Our goals are to protect the natural beauty and assets of Little Mountain Park and to provide a forum for discussion between the business community and the various levels of Government. Most importantly, we aim to sustain the safety of Little Mountain Park for future generations to enjoy.
We welcome you to support our efforts to save Little Mountain Park.
You can contact us through our web page – http://www.lmpcg.ca , our e-mail address – firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook .
Lloyd Johnson, Chair
Little Mountain Park Conservancy Group Inc.