K-W not so dog-friendly

Photo by Will Huang
Photo by Will Huang

It has come to my attention recently that the Kitchener-Waterloo area has a great deal of green space, with numerous trails through the woods that include lakes, rivers, and ponds.

These spaces are popular destinations for people and their dogs, along with the rest of the population. Most, if not all, of these locations require dogs to remain on leash at all times, however very few abide by these bylaws.

There is one area that is designated for dogs off-leash, but it is small and nothing more than an oversized backyard. I work for Complete K9 as a dog pack walker and find it insufficient for dogs considering the lack of off-leash areas.

Curious about what the dog park was like, I went there with a pack of dogs only to discover that it was a tiny fenced area lacking space and trees. It took no more than 5 minutes to walk around the park.

This is most certainly not enough time for dogs to receive the proper amount of exercise they need. Furthermore, considering the summer heat, there is no area for the dogs to swim. I understand this was an attempt for K-W to become dog friendly, but this gesture is nothing more than trying to make dog owners quiet.

One very popular destination for dog owners and their dogs is Snyder Flatts. This area has numerous trails with large areas of land where the dogs can run and burn off pent up energy. Until recently, the bylaw requiring dogs to be on their leash at all times was very loosely enforced, and for good reason considering the space is perfect for taking dogs off-leash.

With the warmer weather came people who did not take kindly to our four legged friends. This has been a result of the bylaws being strongly enforced, charging anyone who has their dog off leash $95.00 per dog. Now, rather than share this space, dogs must remain on leash at all times for all areas of this park.

It is absolutely ridiculous that this area cannot be shared. This is even more problematic because, like Synder Flatts, all the other green spaces in the K-W are not dog friendly.

My boss’s business relies heavily on the ability to walk dogs off-leash, and the recent crack down on off-leash dog walking has had a negative impact on the stimulation that the dogs are able to get.

Many other provinces in Canada are very inviting to off-leash dog walking. They have designated areas of trails for off leash dogs, which allows for dog lovers and non-dog lovers to be aware of spaces where both are allowed.

I understand that not everyone appreciates dogs, but because Snyder Flatts in particular is a very large park, it should not be out of question to designate even part of it to be friendly to off-leash dogs.

Due to the large number of trails, ponds and space at the park, this should be a no-brainer. At least one trail and pond should, without question, be designated for dog owners who desire to take their dogs off their leash.

Other cities such as Toronto have trails designated for people who wish to walk their dogs off leash. Why has K-W not adapted this idea yet?This has the ability to make both non-dog lovers and dog lovers happy, and it requires nothing more than a sign signaling that a trail is dog friendly for off-leash walking.



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