Because I have this blog and my Charlie loves Halifax site I get my share of emails from dog owners who have things happen to them and are looking for information or have had things happen to them - and I also watch the news more closely when animal related news things happen locally - and I'd imagine I have a higher proportion of dog crazy friends than most people do, so I tend to hear a lot more dog gossip than most people do.
But it seems to me that Park Patrol and the Bylaw Enforcement Officers in the HRM are out of control. It may just be that there's a couple of them that happen to be complete assholes and they're colouring the whole corps of them and giving them a bad name - but I don't know what can be done about it.
In the news recently, there was the story about the dog owner who had the 12 week old puppy who was in the wrong section of Point Pleasant Park with his dog where dogs aren't allowed after 10am. He got a fine for that. That seemed absolutely ridiculous to me. If the guy had a 5 year old dog - that might have seemed appropriate because then the guy couldn't have lied and said it was his first time there and he didn't know the rules because the dog was 5 years old. But the dog was 12 weeks old! It was obviously one of his first times there - both him and his dog were probably completely overwhelmed - when you show up at Point Pleasant Park with a puppy every 2nd person stops you to gaa gaa over the puppy, the puppy is wanting to play with everything - you don't notice where you're going. And then all the sudden this asshole comes out of a truck and ruins your whole new dog owner experience. What a drag. If it was me I would be so pissed. I feel so bad for him. He did not deserve that - he deserved to be told what the rules of Point Pleasant Park were and told to have a nice day and he should have been able to carry on with his wonderful new life with his beautiful new puppy.
But some bylaw enforcement officer/park patrol asshole felt otherwise. I hope the puppy owner got his name and lodged a complaint.
I have a friend who was recently at Point Pleasant Park at 7 am on a SUNDAY MORNING and had his bermese mountain dog offleash on Cambridge Drive - the road that goes from the Tower Road down to the water (where they're supposed to be on leash for a certain amount of time) - and NOBODY was in the park at this time of day. It was him, his dog and Park Police - and the guy gets out of the truck and says "you're supposed to have your dog on leash in this area of the park" - and starts to give my friend hassle. At 7am on a Sunday morning when NOBODY is in the park. I mean - there's a certain point when things start to get silly as far as I'm concerned. At 2:30pm on a Sunday afternoon on that same road - dogs should be on leash - there's a million people on that road. But at 7am - give me a break. It's like Henny Penny and the sky is falling.
And don't send a comment saying that "rules are rules" bullshit. There's enough space for everyone - and if a place is empty and no one is around - what's the difference. Please tell me - what's the difference? Except that your dog gets a 500% better amount of exercise and has a much higher quality of life. If you dog is well socialized and has a spot on recall and you're willing to take him out at 7am - why not let him be off-leash when no one else is around. WHAT IS IT HURTING? Except that some Park Patrol Officer can get his jollies before he's had his first cup of coffee.
And did you know that under the current HRM By-Law D-100"Running at Large" means that a dog is off the premises of its owner and is not on a leash held by its owner or another person. http://www.halifax.ca/AnimalControl/DogsRunningatLarge.html So your dog would be considered running at large if he was sitting right next to you but not on leash. What do you think about that?