As the Animal Bylaw enforcement agency for the City of Regina, there are two complaints we hear often when it comes to owners with their dogs in public spaces – dogs who are let off-leash in areas not designated for off-leash and defecation not being picked up. There are some rules and etiquette which when observed, will help ensure you and all other pets and owners enjoy their time outside too.
Let’s look at defecation first. City of Regina Bylaw 2009-44 states that should an animal defecate on public property, or on private property with the consent of the property’s owner, the owner of the animal shall immediately remove the defecation. Seems pretty cut and dry, doesn’t it? Besides being against the law, pet defecation left in public areas can lead to the spread of disease (such as canine parvovirus), nasty odours and unsightliness. And, who among us has not had to try and scrape doggy-doo out of the tread of our new spring shoes after inadvertently stepping in some unknown dog’s calling card? Always be sure to have a healthy supply of poop bags on hand and ready for when they are needed.
The other big complaint can be much more serious. City of Regina bylaw requires all dogs, when on public property, to be completely under their owner’s control by means of a leash at all times (note: there is some provision for owners to have complete control of their pet by verbal means however, the control must be complete and this typically exceeds the capability of most pet owners and their pets). Many of us have seen unleashed dogs frightening other pets and people or harassing or even killing park wildlife. Additionally, many dogs experience reactivity to other dogs and can be greatly over-stimulated at the sight of dogs running free. This can cause anxiety in both the dog and their owner, and hurt their ability to enjoy the public space as they should be able to. While some dogs do not engage in negative behaviour when off-leash, it is still against bylaws in almost all cases. However, seeing other dogs running off-leash emboldens other pet owners to allow the same for their pets. We often hear statements like, “I see others let their dog run free in the park, why can’t I?”. Sooner or later, it’s really a matter of when, not if, a dog who has no business being off-leash is allowed to do so. The results can range from dog fights, frightened pets and owners and people being bitten. Many of our parks include play areas for small children who are put at risk when dogs are not restrained. Your ability to keep your dog safe from other animals will also be compromised if it is not under your control, regardless of your pet’s behaviour. The City of Regina does provide several off-leash dog parks where dogs are not required to be on a leash and can run freely. When using these parks be sure to monitor your pet’s behaviour at all times and never leave them unattended.
Animal Bylaws are in place to help ensure the safety and well-being of all pets and people in our community. By being a responsible pet owner, being courteous and respecting others’ right to enjoy our wonderful outdoor spaces, you will be part of the safety solution, not the problem.