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How a walk in the park can be spoiled

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After months of procrastinating and with our weather beginning to co-operate, I am now taking morning walks in Kilcona Park.

Let me start out by saying I have been a dog owner for over 60 years. There’s an off-leash dog area but the walk around the pond is an area where dogs are only allowed if they are leashed. There are many signs posted throughout the area indicating this.

There are also signs indicating the water is not for swimming ,wading or drinking. There’s a warning  to keep your pets out of the water.

If it sounds like the water is contaminated, Kilcona Park is, in fact, a former landfill site and the water contains toxic chemicals according to the city’s web site.          

I have been walking for about a month now and while walking around the pond in the "leashed area" I have seen only three or four leashed dogs while literally hundreds have been running loose. Many dogs have run at me and, even though they may be friendly, I have no way of knowing this until they’re right in front of me.

I’ve had dogs charge at me, bare their teeth and jump up on me after swimming in the contaminated water. I’ve even seen dog owners throw balls in the water and watch their dogs jump in after it.

I understand why some people take their dogs unleashed into this area. Most of the dogs are harmless likely wouldn’t get along with the other dogs in the unleashed section. Some dog owners with physical limitations have to walk on the paved (leashed) section because the grass area (unleashed) is too difficult for them and I don’t have a problem with that.

On the other hand, I once watched two ladies with seven unleashed dogs walking along a hundred feet or so ahead of the dogs, totally oblivious to messes at least two of the dogs were making and unaware of what the other five dogs were doing.

There are times when kids are playing soccer or baseball and dogs are running loose on those fields.

My feeling on this matter is that owners should respect the rules of the park, show some common courtesy and be responsible enough to leash their dogs, when possible, when they are in the leashed area.  

If they love their dogs, they shouldn’t let them jump into contaminated water and they should be controlling their dogs and picking up after them.

Finally, the dog owners should let those of us out for a walk or a bike ride do so without worry.

Rick Sparling is a community correspondent for North Kildonan. Email him at ricksparling@shaw.ca

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