So I went to one of the HRM's "Off leash strategy Workshops" today - I went to the the one being held at the Tower at St. Mary's University. The turn out was pretty good, everybody did lots of talking, and I'm sure nothing got accomplished.
The City Planners had lots of stuff to hand out - examples from other cities in Canada - I guess cities that they want to base Halifax on maybe - but no cities that have really good models to be based upon - like, say Calgary for instance.
Could it be perhaps because Calgary's system is fuelled by city staff and not by city volunteers? I don't know, I'm just saying. But just for your own interest's sake - I'm going to provide you with a link to the Calgary Animal Services website - one of the most interesting things about it is it's title - it's called "Responsible Pet Ownership" - isn't that super? I think it is anyway. I'm not in the mood to type out too much tonight so I'm not going to get into it too much.
I have a whole long diatribe I want to write about the city's off-leash strategy and what I think should happen - but I just need to get the energy to write it.
But on to the salacious title of this post! We all know that dogs must be on leash in all parks in the HRM, they must be on leash in any place off our own property, except for in designated off-leash spaces as designated by the city - such as the sections of Point Pleasant Park, Seaview Park and ballfields between 6am and 10am between November 1st and May 1st.
But did you know that dogs are allowed off-leash on crown land? Well they ARE! I suspected that when I read the document "Responsible Pet Ownership, Wildlife, and Traps" - and have been blathering on about since it came out. In that document it says, and I quote:
“At large,” under the Act, means unaccompanied by the owner or handler and has been further defined as “not under the immediate control of the owner or handler and not within sight of the owner or handler.”
It does NOT says anything about being tethered in any way to the owner. And I had that confirmed for me this morning at the meeting by an employee of DNR and a City employee - you just have to have your dog under voice control when you're on Crown land, they don't have to be on leash - although DNR STRONGLY suggest that you keep them on leash for their own safety because of the concern for traps and snares.
So anyway - little did I know that all this time me and the dogs have been mostly compliant with the leash laws. Another reason to love Spryfield!
So all you off-leash advocates need to do is suss out the crown land in your neighbourhoods and bobs-your-uncle - you are in compliance with the leash laws.
I should note here though that Crown land is different from Provincial Parks and Federal Parks - ie Long Lake Provincial Park, York Redoubt, and the like. At those kinds of places - leash laws are in effect - at Provincial and Federal parks you must have your dog on leash - a 6 foot leash in order to be compliant with the law - just like anywhere else whenever you're off your own property... Crown land is simply provicincially government owned wildlife habitat anywhere in Nova Scotia.
Okay, I've run out of steam for the moment.
Buttercup and Daisy last night on an off-leash adventure at an undisclosed location in the great Republic of Spryfield!!
Firstly I have to caution on the useage of Crown Lands in regards to trapping. A few years ago the only Leonberger breeder in the maritimes almost lost one of her females to a Coyote snare off one of the rails to trails paths. Also, two dogs were caught in traps while on flexies...so if people are going to use crown land do make sure you SUSS it out during trapping season really well. A Jack was caught by it's head in a trap up in Guelph recently. The trap was set on the other side of fence that borders a public use park. The fence had known holes in it etc. Sickening!
Ok..now that that is out of the way...
YES - I am really quite in shock that the city in all it's research etc. in regards to this draft did not choose to put the Calgary Model in as atleast an alternative to the other solution of User Pay Dog Owner Groups..only in the Draft they forget to put "USER PAY" in front I think. That's all I can get out of the models they had in their appendices. They offered no real other alternative.
Not to say that with increased enforcement of licensing and registration..and enforcement of Responsible Animal Ownership laws that it still won't be a form of user pay but a much more palatable form.
One article I would like to draw people's attention to is at this link:
It is about what it is like to be an Animal Control Officer in Calgary (a very sought after job!)
I think this article alone tells alot about how the attitude of a city can bring incredibly positive results all the way around.
Halifax has a VERY long way to go if left to the city itself. As dog owners we need to speak out. So those reading please do contact John Charles at Parkdog@halifax.ca and tell him your views - please.
Sorry for blabbering on...it must be a hot flash moment!
Heather...love your blog!