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August 15, 2007



Good job Michelle! Too many people don't view dog owners as honest to goodness tax paying citizens. They get hung up on the dog and that is where they stop. It's this same group of people that can't get past the "dog" that propose BSL and other kinds of illegal "dog" laws.


I'm curious what determines whether an off-leash area would not need fencing. I have never seen a dog park that was not fenced and I would never take my dog to one, no matter how large.

Especially i the example you cited of Berkley Riverfront Park. Why wouldn't a fence be needed there" It is cross-crossed with jogging/bicycle trails, has a road along its entire southern border, a swift-moving river along its northern border (my dog jumps into water in a heartbeat, that's that last I'd see of her if she jumped in there!), railroad tracks along the west end, and a busy road/freeway ramps at the east end. I'd absolutely never take my dog off a leash there without a fence.



I honestly don't know a lot about non-fenced dog parks. The city of Calgary has over 120 non-fenced areas that are designated as off-leash areas. I believe the dog park at Shawnee Mission Park is non-fenced, but am not sure.

People use several of the parks near me as "unofficial" dog parks where their dogs go and run off-leash and play with other dogs. In all the instances I've seen, the dog owners do a really good job of watching their dogs and their dogs are very voice responsive...ergo, when I walk by with my clan of dogs they can call their dogs and they don't come up to us - -and they don't wander into the fairly busy parkway that runs by them.

Thus, a non-fenced dog park would require a fairly responsible dog owner that knows their dog well enough to know they aren't going to run up on I-35 once they let them off their leash.

While not everyone would be an ideal owner in this situation, the net result would be more, better-trained dogs.

The big thing is that while some people use these parks as off-leash parks, they could technically be ticketed by animal control at any point and time.

I think KC could use more of both fenced and non-fenced dog parks (I obviously don't want unfenced dog parks to drive non-dog-people crazy) -- but there are some places that would be perfect for them.

Bill Bruce, the AC in Calgary is going to be at our conference in September, and one of the things I plan to talk to him about is how the non-fenced dog park thing can bet i'll report back.


Thanks for the info! The dog park at Shawnee Mission Park actually is fenced, but the park is so large that most people don't see anything other than the fence at the entry. Now, there isn't a secured gate there like there is at Penn Valley Park or Heritage Park, but a fence does surround the entire area except for where it's abutted by the lake.


We used the same argument when we fought the City of Hamilton,Ontario for six years to finally get our first dog park.

You are correct, dog owners get little consideration as people who deserve facilities tailored to their needs and as people who spend a fair amount of money on their pets and in taxes.

Well exercised socialized dogs are good dogs owned by caring people - why wouldn't any area that has the space want to encourage that?

As for fencing vs open, our research at the time (the park opened in 1999 and is still a success) showed that the most successful facilities are fenced, for the following reasons:

- novice dog owners are more likely to use a fenced area, where they come in contact with more experienced owners
- people have a chance to train their dogs off lead safely
- people who don't like or fear dogs know where they will be
- it reduces anxiety for dog owners, as even the best trained dog is unaware of the invisible boundary around a leash-free area

The city will whine about not having money for fencing.

We had a motion passed at City Council to add $1.00 per year to the dog licence fee and to direct that dollar towards the existing park (the fencing was paid off in a year) and towards the establishment of future parks, which seems to have been forgotten.

It's too bad that once the fencing loan was paid ($30,000) the money went into a general revenue fund, as is so often the case with licence fees and pet owner fines.

The key to success with animal issues is to direct ALL money collected through animal services INTO animal services. That's how Calgary managed to have the most successful program in North America (if not the world).

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