Saturday, August 14, 2010

No dogs? Then leash your child, please.

It has come to my attention that a long-standing usage of a section of Sandy Hill park in Ottawa (behind the community centre) could be terminated because petty and intolerant individuals want dogs banned from that area. They (whoever they are) have applied for a regulation change.

It would be just as petty and intolerant of me to speculate that those who initiated this application process are irresponsible parents who take their children to public recreational facilities and expect city employees to watch out for them.

You know the type. On planes, they let their child kick the back of your seat until you stand up and ask him (or her) to please stop, at which point the parents will glare at you for curbing their little darling's freedom. They take their children into washrooms or change rooms and let them run about bothering everybody. In restaurants, they don't use the opportunity to educate their children about courtesy and good manners, assuming other customers won't pay attention to their kids' whining, banging or screaming since they've become inured to such behaviour.

The playground and wading pool (summer use) area of Sandy Hill park is clearly delineated and it excludes dogs, for hygienic and safety reasons. In the other section, canine companions with their people are allowed off-leash within the perimeter. When soccer and other games are scheduled, the players' need for the field is usually respected.

There are very few such areas available in the neighbourhood, for dogs and their people to socialize. For those without vehicles (dogs are not allowed on public transportation) Sandy Hill park is well frequented meeting spot. There are many dogs who live nearby; their people are highly responsible in scooping up after them on the streets and in the parks where dogs can enter.

I have no vindication to score and no benefits to lose as my child no longer finds playground equipment exciting nor do we share our lives with a canine buddy - but I do enjoy the practical beauty of that park when invited to walk there with friends and their doggie companions.

I strongly object to a regulation that would exclude dogs from Sandy Hill park, and if you also find such change regressive, please express your opposition to:
Christine Hartig, By-laws and Regulations Services, City of Ottawa, K2G 5K7. Please email or fax your comments to her before September 2, 2010:, fax 613.580.2179

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