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Fenced-in park spots need to be interesting for dogs: Expert

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The Vancouver Park Board is toying with the idea of doing away with restricted hours for dogs to run around off-leash in parks, while setting up more fenced-in areas.

Park board vice-chair Aaron Jasper says off-leash areas are working poorly.  “The staggered hours restricting times dogs are allowed to run around without a leash essentially turn parks into off-leash all day,” he explains.

“The policy is not consistent. Some parks are off-leash in certain areas for certain times of the year. It creates confusion. Some people might assume that off-leash rules for one park apply to all parks.”

Stanley Coren, professor emeritus of psychology at UBC and author of Born to Bark,  agrees that off-leash spots are problematic, especially if dog owners fail to do their duty.

“People have to pick up after their dogs. If dog owners are not responsible and don’t pick up, your kid is going to step into something they shouldn’t be stepping into, and the park board is going to get lots of complaints.”

But some thought, Coren insists, has to go into the planning of fenced-in areas for pooches.

“There should be areas of brush, some trees, places where dogs can dodge in and out, and it should be large enough. It’s not the same thing as taking an unused soccer field and putting a fence around it and saying it’s a fenced-in dog area.”

There are 35 off-leash areas in Vancouver, and five of them are already fenced in.
The park board is inviting input into the proposed changes until early July.
Coren calls BC not a dog-friendly province, and says his view will change once dogs are allowed on transit and in taxi cabs.