Calgary, Vancouver, and Saskatoon - just to name a few, that is being tried out - called the "Off Leash Ambassador Program" - that sounds like a really good idea.
Dog owners are being trained so that when they walk their own dogs in off leash areas of the city that if they see other dog owners not being perfect canine dog owning citizens, they can gently urge or offer an alternate way for those dog owners to act so that our off leash spaces become a better place for everybody.
The city of Edmonton describes it this way -
What are an Ambassador's goals?
- Create a positive culture of community at your off leash area
- Open lines of communication to promptly address actual or perceived problems
- Help monitor interactions between dogs, and between dogs and people
- Encourage users to practice responsible dog ownership principles
What does an Ambassador do?
- No hourly commitment – volunteer as often as you like
- Orientation and safety training included
- Monitor sanitation by coaching others to pick up after their dogs
- Support and coordinate occasional clean ups of site
- Monitor signage and bulletin boards where applicable
- Post appropriate notices
You are not bylaw enforcement - you are only there for information, and it's a subtle form of public education
It all sounds good to me - I think our local off leash parks could use a program like this - in other cities it is instigated and maintained by the local Animal Control departments - so it's the city officials who pay for training and maintenance of the program - so I guess it happening here in the HRM is pretty slim - but it would be nice if something like this did happen here!