Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

Dog Park article in todays rag: complainer is an idiot!

lezzpezz
April 28th, 2006, 03:32 PM
This is the kinda crap that the London Dog Owners Association is up against as we try to get a new park in London.

Neighbour brings up worries about proposed dog park

By IAN GILLESPIE

Dave Swan says, "I'm really worried about my kids. If that's a crime, so be
it."

You can't argue with that. But I'm not so sure about the rest of what he
says.

Swan is opposed to an off-leash dog park the city wants to build near his
house. The proposed new park would be fenced, with a 50-space parking lot
and a double-gate entrance off Colonel Talbot Road. It would sit on an

old garbage dump near Byron Somerset elementary school, which is unfenced.

Swan doesn't like this. Not one bit.

"Frankly, I could not control myself if one of my children got attacked by
somebody else's dog," he warns.

He says leash-free parks attract overly aggressive dogs and that one of
these canine bullies might maul a child.

Swan says the proposed 1.2-metre fence isn't high enough to restrain
aggressive dogs, particularly when the ground is raised by snow. He says
many dog owners using off-leash parks don't leash their pets while moving
from the parking lot to the park.

Also, Swan says he's worried about the noise ("What is the decibel level
going to be with 50 barking dogs?" he asks.) He says he's worried about all
that puppy poop, too. ("That feces is going to wash down the hill into the
schoolyard," he says.)

Because the site is a former garbage dump, Swan says he's worried about the
methane gas that's leaking out. ("If somebody's cigarette butt ignites
methane gas coming out of those vents and it blows up my house," he says,
"I've got an issue with that.")

Swan also says he's worried the park will attract pedophiles, who often lure
children by asking for help to find their lost dog.

"We don't need any more reasons for strangers to be in our neighbourhood,"
he says, adding he'd rather see a soccer pitch on the site.

He says he's also upset the city notified only residents who live within 110
metres of the proposed park. To rectify that, he's delivered about 700
letters to local residents.

"We're not dog haters," he says, adding he owns a dog. "We just can't have
it (a dog park) beside a school that doesn't have a fence around it."

Swan wants answers.

So I ask two local dog trainers, John Wade and Yvette Van Veen, whether
off-leash parks attract overly aggressive dogs. They both say no, adding a
dog that's leashed or restrained from socializing with other dogs is usually
far more aggressive than one that's allowed to run and roam.

"My belief is that we'll get far fewer aggressive dogs if we have more dog
parks," says Wade.

I ask Jay Stanford, the city's manager of environmental services, about the
methane gas. He says the methane dissipates far too quickly to be dangerous.

I ask whether the site could be used as a soccer pitch. Stanford says the
city concluded that was not feasible because the buried garbage is still
settling, which causes the ground to heave and split. He says it would cost
between $150,000 and $250,000 to cap the site with clay for a soccer field,
but only about $40,000 for a dog park.

I ask Beth Sayler, the off-leash parks chairperson of the London Dog Owners
Association, whether there's a problem with people unleashing their dog
before they enter such parks (there are two in London) and not cleaning up.
Sayler says it rarely happens, and the association regularly posts
volunteers at the parks to educate users about park protocol.

I talk to half a dozen dog owners at the Stoney Creek off-leash park on
Adelaide Street, just north of Windermere Road. They say they never see dogs
fight or jump over the fence; they say their pets are far more interested in
what's in the park (namely other dogs) than out.

As for noise, Sayler says when dogs are playing, they're much

quieter than when they're tied up in a yard.

As for pedophiles, she says a Saskatchewan study found crime actually
decreased in neighbourhoods with dog parks because there's more activity.

There'll be a public information meeting about the proposed park at Byron
Somerset school on May 16 at 6:30 p.m.

It should be quite a dogfight.

Luvmypit
April 28th, 2006, 03:51 PM
That guy sounds crazy...lol.

I am surprised he didn't complain about getting a splinter from the fence for dogs sake.

Mom_Of_Two_Dogs
April 28th, 2006, 04:17 PM
I'm personally no fan of leashfree parks, but this is ridiculous. I don't get the pedophile connection (they'd be more likely to be in the school yard, not a leashfree park).Also, I think these parents should be more concerned about loose dogs ad cats in their neighbourhood, not somewere that'll actually be fenced in.

Oh, and don't get me started on the phobia of the house blowing up :p That is just silly.

Ed U KayShawn
April 28th, 2006, 04:32 PM
I find it so depressing that people are becoming so callous and insensitive and ignorant. When they don't understand a situation they don't research it instead they throw a temper by handing out papers and littering the earth with their biased opinions and then they sensationalize a ridiculous idea. The off leash park IS a great assest to any community especially in the days of new construction with small yards, longer work hours etc. I find stupidity to be my biggest pet peeve! These people are weak and lazy minded. Strong minded, intelligent, energenic pet owners will prevail:)

mafiaprincess
April 28th, 2006, 04:46 PM
That guy is a tool. If he could have found anything else to complain about he would have. Any leash free park I've been to has even had clean up days to ensure that the few poops that weren't picked up got picked up..

Stewart
April 29th, 2006, 04:21 AM
Hi ! Sorry to go off topic, I knew you had a London in Ontario, But reading this topic I notice you have the word Somerset which is the county in England UK that I live also in the school name Byron a famous poet of ours lol.

lezzpezz
April 29th, 2006, 07:47 AM
Yes, we have based much of the London in Ontario around London England and the British empire as a whole! I myself live on Duke St. and we have Princess, Queens, King, King Edward and many other streets/aves that have a connection to the Commonwealth! Jolly Good!!:thumbs up

And yes, this guy is really pushing the envelope when it comes to fuel for the anti-dog park issue! What a knob!!!:D

lezzpezz
April 29th, 2006, 09:48 AM
I find it so depressing that people are becoming so callous and insensitive and ignorant. When they don't understand a situation they don't research it instead they throw a temper by handing out papers and littering the earth with their biased opinions and then they sensationalize a ridiculous idea. The off leash park IS a great assest to any community especially in the days of new construction with small yards, longer work hours etc. I find stupidity to be my biggest pet peeve! These people are weak and lazy minded. Strong minded, intelligent, energenic pet owners will prevail:)

That is a wonderfully thought out turn of a phrase and I would love to use this at the upcoming meeting or somewhere!! it is perfect and illustrates my feelings nicely!:D

Lissa
April 29th, 2006, 03:05 PM
Swan says the proposed 1.2-metre fence isn't high enough to restrain aggressive dogs, particularly when the ground is raised by snow. He says many dog owners using off-leash parks don't leash their pets while moving from the parking lot to the park.

Also, Swan says he's worried about the noise ("What is the decibel level
going to be with 50 barking dogs?" he asks.) He says he's worried about all
that puppy poop, too. ("That feces is going to wash down the hill into the
schoolyard," he says.)

These are 3 valid points IMO!

While I don't think parks attract people with aggressive dogs, I think there are too few owners who have control of their dog at parks. Off-leash parks are seen as a free-for-all, especially in peak hours IMO. When you have a bunch of dogs together, many who have had minimal training and proper socialization, problems are bound to happen (although I have yet to see an unprovoked human related unjury at the dog parK)...

I am one of the only people who actually has a leash on my dog when walking to and from my car - everyone seems to think that their dog(s) will automatically run from the car and into the dog park.

I would also be worried about the amount of poop since so few people seem to poop and scoop these days.

And I imagine that it will be noisier which could be a pain for some people! A lot of dog owners have to walk their dogs in the pre-dawn hours so if the park is in a residential area, I can see how the noise fator might be a concern!

A one meter fence won't hold most dogs that wants to get out, although it will probably be out of fear than aggression. However, I would be impressed if this fence is actually solid or chain-linked since most of the dog parks near me have minimal fencing!

lezzpezz
April 29th, 2006, 03:55 PM
These are 3 valid points IMO!

While I don't think parks attract people with aggressive dogs, I think there are too few owners who have control of their dog at parks. Off-leash parks are seen as a free-for-all, especially in peak hours IMO. When you have a bunch of dogs together, many who have had minimal training and proper socialization, problems are bound to happen (although I have yet to see an unprovoked human related unjury at the dog parK)...

I am one of the only people who actually has a leash on my dog when walking to and from my car - everyone seems to think that their dog(s) will automatically run from the car and into the dog park.

I would also be worried about the amount of poop since so few people seem to poop and scoop these days.

And I imagine that it will be noisier which could be a pain for some people! A lot of dog owners have to walk their dogs in the pre-dawn hours so if the park is in a residential area, I can see how the noise fator might be a concern!

A one meter fence won't hold most dogs that wants to get out, although it will probably be out of fear than aggression. However, I would be impressed if this fence is actually solid or chain-linked since most of the dog parks near me have minimal fencing!


In London, dog parks are NOT seen as a free-for-all! We have daily volunteer monitors on site, who promote policing by all individuals that use the parks, and who diligently enforce poop pick up, leashing of dogs until inside the park, as well as educating other dog owners by discourage any rough and unwanted behaviour. It is working marvelously!

Bringing unsocialized dogs to the parks is one of the best ways to introduce your dog to being around both humans and other dogs. It all hinges on owner responsibility, which our group, London Dog Owners' Association, fully promotes as it is one of our mandates. Yes there can be issues, but these are swiftly addressed. We are advising people as they enter the park to keep the dog on a leash or risk being fined. A gentle reminder and warning. Most people comply.

The only incidents regarding humans are with the confrontational boneheads who are gradually being persuaded to follow the rules posted clearly on the signage as well as listed on the handouts given at every opportunity, even stuck on windshields! and these folks are asked to leave unless they can follow suit. We even take liscence plate #'s of those that refuse to comply and follow the very basic, safe and courteous rules. We do follow up with reports to the appropriate authority, depending on the infraction. The only injury a human suffered to date was when a dog rushed a lady and she fell and broke her leg....and it was her OWN DOG that jumped her!!:eek:

The parks have set hours, so the wee hours of the morning are not available for misuse. If folks ignore this, that is up to the police to enforce trespass laws. There will always be those that break the rules.

We just completed an entire dog park clean up of both parks and very little feces was actually found! Everyone is quite on top of making sure that folks that "miss" cleaning up after their dogs, actually get told to do so! And then DO IT! We've got bags a plenty, rule handouts by the truckload, on hand for these instances!!

As for noise, the writer of this article was asked to be silent for a few minutes while he was interviewing a park user. All that could be heard by those in attendance, was the traffic on Adelaide St., a very busy 4 lane thoroughfare. Not a single peep from the 40 or so dogs in the park! Too busy playing and romping to be barking! Yes,there are some brief spurts of barking, but for the mostpart, it is a place of total bliss for the dogs. We have read studies proving that the noise level in a dog park is such that it is a non-issue. Decibel level is documented as much lower than many many other daily outdoor manmade noises.

As for the location of the dog parks in London in relation to residential areas: it's not an issue. The first park is about 4 miles from the nearest home. The second is on a terribly busy 4-lane street and the closest house is several hundred metres from the park. The lady that is the sole resident near this park is delighted that the park is there, and plans on speaking at our meeting on May 16th IN FAVOUR of this park!! She doesn't even own a dog!:thumbs up

The fencing at the parks is neither solid nor chainlink, but is structurally durable and sufficient to house the dogs as well as aesthetically pleasing and blends in with the natural environment beautifully. Never had an incident yet of any levitating dogs, be it out of "fear" or "aggression". Are you a student of dog behaviourial science studies, as I was wondering where you might have come up with your theory of what would compell dogs to jump out of a dog park full of exhuberant animals having a riot? The fact is that that dogs that are in the park would rather be IN THE PARK where all of the fun is...not out chasing down children, cars, other dogs whathaveyou....

Your opinions and ideas sound very much like those of Mr. Swan, the blatantly ignorant, narrowminded guy that was interviewed in the first place, for this news article. Thank you for responding, however! You gave me another opportunity to highlight just how well organized our parks are in London and how hard we work to keep them safe and tidy for all users, not to mention the chance to dispell some common myths that people have surrounding off leash dog parks! ;)

lezzpezz
April 29th, 2006, 04:23 PM
at all like Mr. Swan! Heaven forbid! This guy is a bit skewed in his thinking and really reaching for straws.

I only think that your views are based on fears rather than fact. I can well imagine that there are dog parks that are poorly monitored and are full of cretins that let the dogs go willy nilly and unattended. This is why we go to such great lengths to curb this behaviour.

I apologize Lissa if my post came across as somewhat brusque, but we face these types misconceptions all the time. I firmly believe what we are doing is a great thing, a safe thing for the dogs, or I wouldn't be doing it.

Again, I am sorry if my wording came across as rude in any way. Not my intent at all...:sorry:

OntarioGreys
April 30th, 2006, 09:31 AM
I just hope for the dog owners sake that Mr Swan, is all bark and no bite, especially with the aggressiveness and and effort to promote fear and anger in the neighbourhood to try to stop the park. They had enough problems with people laying out poisons in some of the Toronto dog parks by those who did not want the dog around.

Dirigo
April 30th, 2006, 10:00 AM
I have the perfect solution

Build the dog park and post a big fat sign on the outside...
"no kids allowed"
that takes care of the problem, and the furrys can happily roam.

PetFriendly
April 30th, 2006, 11:19 AM
You know, in my neighbourhood, my dog is much better behaved than most people's kids... Don't get me wrong, I don't hate kids, but I take the time to teach my dog to stay off of people's lawns, and I often wish my neighbours would do the same with their kids...
I often come home to find 1/2 dozen kids gathered on my front yard (we have a corner lot), my yard is also a bus stop and darned if I can convince the kids who wait for the bus to stay off my grass... And don't even get me started on the kids who play in the street because their parents bought houses with no yards for them to play in...
So if the kids are playing in the street, why can't the dogs have a park to play in, not like the kids are going to be using it :p .

Writing4Fun
May 1st, 2006, 12:56 PM
Maybe it's just me, but I get the feeling this guy has a tremendous fear of dogs (maybe from a bad childhood experience). If I had been attacked by a dog that climbed over a fence (for example), I'd be pretty leary of a gathering place for dozens of leash-free dogs with nothing but a fence between them and a nearby school yard full of running, screaming children. Yes, I know he says he has a dog. I know a few people who are deathly afraid of strange dogs and are fine with their own small dogs who they raised from puppyhood. Just pointing out that he may have his reasons for being so panicked about the whole thing.

I'm not a fan of off-leash dog parks, but it sounds like you folks in London have figured out a way to make them work. :thumbs up I would suggest you attend that public meeting with plenty of well-researched facts to support your cause, and respond to his rantings in a mature, respectful manner. That will make you sound like the mature adult and him like the spoiled child having a fit because Mommy didn't let him have more candy. ;)

PetFriendly, you can contact the school board and demand that they move the bus stop because the children are ruining your lawn. They should be able to put it next door. If they refuse, then try putting up a small picket fence around your part of the property. I believe the first 5 or 6 feet belong to the city, so you can't say anything about what they do there, and very few kids will actually ignore a visual deterrent like a picket fence. If they do ignore it, then you have cause to send notes home to all their parents asking that they keep their kids off your lawn. ;)

Lissa
May 1st, 2006, 01:49 PM
In London, dog parks are NOT seen as a free-for-all!

Your opinions and ideas sound very much like those of Mr. Swan, the blatantly ignorant, narrowminded guy that was interviewed in the first place, for this news article. Thank you for responding, however! You gave me another opportunity to highlight just how well organized our parks are in London and how hard we work to keep them safe and tidy for all users, not to mention the chance to dispell some common myths that people have surrounding off leash dog parks! ;)

I do find that a little rude but thanks for the apology.

Obviously my opinions are based soley on the parks I have attended in MY area...None of which are patrolled by the city, NCC or volunteers. Some of our parks are still at risk of being shut-down because so few owners abide by the rules.

I do NOT think its fair or realistic that you should assume ALL dog parks are as wonderful or as well organized as those in "the London Dog Owner's Association" area.

I would normally agree that individual's like Mr. Swan do not understand dogs or their owners. But his concerns are understandable for dog parks that are "a free for all". I agree that if your park is as well run as you describe, that his reasons are not valid but in my area they are more than valid.

And no, I have no fear of dog parks...Everything I've written is based on what I've expereinced at my local dog parks. I am being realistic and trying to understand how non-dog owners/lovers see things (which is the only way we are going to ever get through to them IMO... Coming onto a public place and saying "he's an idiot/narrowminded/ignorant complainer" does not help the situation and if anything, make people like Mr. Swan have stronger negative feelings towards dog parks and the people who use/support them).
If Mr. Swan's only experience has been at the parks in my area, then I can understand why he has concerns.

lezzpezz
May 1st, 2006, 05:49 PM
I feel a bit more humble today! Just get all hot around the collar on this issue and this is just me venting.

Our approach will be polite and fact filled, not slammin' anyone. He is taking care of that all by himself. It matters little if he has been to a park, (likely not) as his "fears" and ideas are pretty far fetched and he's really grasping at ways to sink this park and others.

You should see the mail coming in and soon to hit the press. We have rec'd letters from as far away as New Jersey! over Mr. S's letter. Mind you, I have only read the pro-park letters.

I would understand his concerns if there was some basis in fact to his worries, and maybe there is...we will hear about it soon enough. But the proposed park is NOT NEAR the school at all and it is not on a footpath leading to or from this school. Kids wouldn't even set foot near this park. Several acres in between fenced park area as well as the steepest hill (beside Boler Mountain ski resort, so it is a HUGE STEEP hill) leading up to the park. I personally could not climb that hill and I am fairly healthy!

His ideas are kinda kooky, but they are his and we are listening, but on the side I still think he is a boob, and feel comfortable enough to air my feelings here. No worries about at the meeting.....we have one rep from our group speaking only, and she is stating facts only....no argument, no name calling....just polite truth. After the meeting, I can hit him with a zinger if I want to, but I will bite my tongue.....:p

Thanks once again for accepting my apology....I can be a boob too!:D

Lissa
May 1st, 2006, 10:05 PM
I hope this dog park will be accepted because it certainly sounds like the London Dog Owner's Association will monitor it carefully!

Good luck and no hard feelings! We are allowed to have a difference of opinion!;)