Should Public Parks Have Off-Leash Dog Hours?

Months after the Toronto Mayor ordered Toronto Animal Services to better enforce the city’s leash laws, a Toronto city councillor has proposed that dogs have free run of every city park, being allowed off-leash during the designated off-hours of between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m.

In April of this year at the Mayor’s urging, by-law officers engaged in a blitz on off-leash dogs around Toronto, where the formerly rarely-enforced fine is $240 for being caught with your dog off-leash. This week, the city has been asked to study whether it would be a positive thing to have dogs running free in public parks after hours.

There are over 1,400 parks in the city, with just over 50 off-leash parks. But many Toronto residents find difficult to get to some of these off-leash parks if they don’t have their own car. Despite the leash laws currently in place, people still walk their dogs without a leash in public spaces.

Supporters of the idea say that people who allow their dogs off-leash must be proactive in keeping an eye on them, so they won’t miss when their dog does their business in the park. In addition, they say that dogs are like children to many people and some of the best green space in the city is not being used as much as it could be.

People who are against the idea say that no matter what, there will always be people who do not have control over their dogs and who make park-goers uncomfortable – people who are in the park to enjoy it and have fun. They say it doesn’t seem like the most responsible or safe option, like having a designated off-leash area that is fenced in would be.


Source: Earth Rated, by Heather Rose

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