Council considers first fenced leash-free dog area in west end"
Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News Staff
Published on May 06, 2010
As a city staff review of a controversial Dundas leash-free dog running area enters its fifth month, city councillors will consider placing a fence around another leash-free park for the first time.
A notice of motion was given at this week’s public works committee meeting. The motion, if approved at the committee’s May 31 meeting, would direct city staff to install a fence around a leash free park in Hamilton’s west end. This would be the first fenced leash-free or free-running area operated by the city. Three unfenced free-running areas are located in Dundas, plus one in Ancaster.
According to the motion, there have been an increasing number of “dangerous interactions” between off-leash dogs and children or families using a playground in the same park. “…effectively fencing off the leash-free and playground uses of the park will provide a workable solution for all users,” the motion states.
As previously reported by the Dundas Star News, most municipalities with leash free areas within parks enclose the free running areas with fences – particularly when there is any chance of interaction with other park users, or to keep dogs away from conservation or environmentally significant areas.
The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals supports leash free areas that are fenced, for the protection of the dogs who use them.
In Hamilton, leash free dogs are not permitted in environmentally significant areas or conservation areas. Warren Park, which is home to an unfenced free running area, is frequented by people using various trails, is located within an ESA and surrounded by Hamilton Conservation Authority property.
Change the rules
A group of dog owners who allow their pets to run at large in Warren Park has asked the city to change the rules for leash free areas to allow the use to continue. Another group has requested the leash-free designation be eliminated.
A staff report and recommendation on Warren Park’s leash-free status is expected by August.