Charlottetown city council promised strictly to enforce its dog leash bylaw as of Oct. 20, leaving some dog owners angry and some residents satisfied.
"The things that I've heard is, even though people are responsible dog owners, people are generally pleased with the decision of council because all the people are not pet lovers or dog owners," Coun. Kathleen Casey said.
Casey, who chairs the park and recreation committee, told the Surveyor that signs will be posted at the parks informing citizens that dogs must remain on leashes at all times. Not complying with the law will result in a $110 fine. However, some dog owners are unhappy with the bylaw.
"It's terrible that they (city council) didn't give us any notice," said Betty Wood, who regularly walks her golden Labrador retriever, Harley, along with nearly half a dozen people and their pets in the woods at Victoria Park.
"We had been told that they would give us a little time so we would get together to go up there, but it is also like they sneaked this (bylaw) through.
"I know the law was already there," Wood continued, "but it's just mean because we are the only province in Canada that doesn't have a place (to let dogs run unleashed)."
With emotion in her voice, the Charlottetown woman said if it wasn't for Harley, she'd be sitting on her couch feeling sorry for herself.
"They (dogs) bring so much joy and love to people," she said.
Some parks in Toronto, Halifax and Vancouver have dog parks where dogs can roam unleashed.
"Generally, it's a nice thing to do," said Heather Irving, executive director of the P.E.I. Humane Society, regarding parks letting dogs off leashes. "We have no problem with it one way or another."
Yet, Irving did think dog owners must use common sense and be responsible for the safety of their pet.
"You just don't know," she added, noting some people are afraid of pets or just don't like pets. Irving also said people can find a deserted beach or farm land to let their pets run free Hazel Simpson disagrees.
"Who wants to drive that far?" Simpson asked, as her dog group members opposed Irving's suggested locales, which are 20 miles or more away for most of them.
Simpson, who owns Ki'Ming, a Chow mix, did think the park would go downhill if dogs weren't allowed to run free.
Simpson and Wood said they have seen activity in the park deemed to be indecent by the city. They felt city police ought to do more to get them out.
"They (the police) need to be coming down here to see what really is going on," Wood said. "It's obvious, we all see it."
She added since Victoria Park is for children, the alleged sexually perverse acts are unacceptable.
Const. Gary Clow, Charlottetown police, defended his department.
"We are foot patrol every day--two officers go through around the noon hour," Clow said, noting a patrol car drives through the park every hour on the hour.
The police officer noted the odd offender slips by, but he is confident his men are looking out for any activity judged indecent by the city and are making dog owners aware of the dog leash bylaw at Victoria Park.