Park proposed for community's pooches
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 10:33 am
Man’s best friend may soon be able to run free in Turner Valley, if council approves a proposal for a new dog park.
Coun. Dona Fluter suggested to council at its Jan. 7 meeting the Town establish a dog park to address the increasing number of cases of dogs running at large and to give pet owners and their pooches a place to socialize.
“Just about every other person has a dog these days,” Fluter said in an interview last week. “I just see more and more people with dogs.”
The idea came to Fluter when she noticed residents walking their dogs off leash in various locations around town including incomplete subdivisions. Town bylaw requires dogs must be on a leash if not in a contained area.
“A significant number of complaints are generated because of dog owners utilizing undeveloped subdivision areas within the town as an off leash location,” she said.
Animal control officer Pauline Bettcher told Fluter phone calls over off leash dogs are increasing.
Last year the Town received 73 dog complaints, varying from dogs being off leash to owners not picking up after their pet, an increase from 65 in 2011 and 66 in 2010, she said.
In addition, animal bylaw services dealt with four vicious dog incidents, one of which resulted in minor injuries to a dog and its owner, said Fluter.
If an animal attacks a person or other animals the owner may be ordered to kennel the animal or leash it continuously and could face fines as high as $500, according to information from the Town.
“I feel as a community we should be providing some sort of a location where they can run their dogs,” said Fluter, who is the owner of a Heeler cross pup. “It’s such an easy fix and a doable thing to provide to our community. I don’t see any down side to this, I see this as being win-win all around.”
Fluter said the dog park idea has the support of Bettcher and Turner Valley Protective Services Officer Shawn Lapointe.
“We are of the stance that a designated off leash area would greatly reduce the amount of complaints received concerning people walking their dogs off leash through town,” said Lapointe. “It would promote a cleaner community and community relations could improve as people venture into the off leash area with their dogs, allowing them to meet and talk with others in the community.”
Fluter also received a positive response from council and she said she expects the group to agree to have administration look into the cost to implement a dog park, a possible location, fencing, funding and research what other communities have done. She said she hopes to have more information for the next council meeting on Jan. 21.
“It’s one of those projects where the investment is minimal when you look at the completion of the project,” she said. “To me it’s going to be well used. I think our dog owners will really appreciate it and the non-dog owners who don’t want dogs running lose around their place will appreciate it as well.”
Fluter said finding land for an off leash park won’t be difficult and the park would serve as a great service to the community, particularly dog owners who don’t have the ability to drive to the off leash park in Black Diamond.
“This is just one area we can be proactive,” she said. “For what it’s going to cost it’s going to provide great opportunities for dog owners. It gives the owners the opportunity for the dogs to be familiarized with other dogs.”