Dog owners howl over no-barking sign


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Pet owners say the city must be barking mad for erecting a sign about excessive barking at a popular downtown dog park.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/01/2021 (581 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Pet owners say the city must be barking mad for erecting a sign about excessive barking at a popular downtown dog park.

Park users say the notice at Bonnycastle Dog Park on Assiniboine Avenue was recently installed by the city.

Josh Bush, who takes his two dogs to the park several times a week, says it’s “very rare” to see a dog barking in a way that could be deemed excessive.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS New “no excessive barking” signs have been posted at the park.

“(Residents of) these buildings have been complaining about the park since it opened,” he said.

The park is surrounded by condos and apartments. In 2016, the decision to locate a dog park in the area was panned by developers of the apartment building next to it, who complained there would be too much noise from barking mutts. The controversy delayed construction.

It’s a community space, dog owners Adrian Crittenden and Katie Pratt said while watching their dog at the park Monday afternoon. Part of living in a community is accepting the natural behaviour of fellow members’ pets.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Josh Bush and Katie Pratt look on as their dogs play in Bonnycastle Dog Park on Assiniboine Avenue in Winnipeg Monday

“Obviously, we want to be considerate, and if she’s barking excessively, we’ll try and quiet her down. Ultimately, if you decide to live right next to a dog park, I feel like that’s what you signed for to an extent,” Pratt said.

“You already have the operating hours, it already closes at 10 p.m. Obviously, dogs aren’t barking and keeping people awake or anything like that,” Crittenden said.

Coun. Sherri Rollins, chairwoman of the city’s parks committee, said she “couldn’t have anticipated” the response after sharing a city photo, which includes a supportive message, on Twitter Friday. She soon faced questions and criticism from Winnipeggers.

“I should’ve known better,” she joked.

Her intention was to remind visitors to be mindful of the people who live near the park.

“For me, it was about balance – unlike other parks in the suburbs, this one has neighbours right beside and alongside it on Assiniboine (Avenue) and Garry (Street),” she said.

“It’s a wonderful little spot, it’s totally picturesque. For me, it was as much about celebrating Bonnycastle Park and the dogs that frequent it as it was about the new signs.”

Excessive barking is relatively low on the list of dog-related complaints Rollins said she’s received about the area.

Only two of 45 dog-related complaints she is currently working on relate to barking — both of them involve Bonnycastle Park. One of the complaints, she said, came from a constituent who was concerned about a dog that had been barking at their dog.

Apart from the city’s responsible pet ownership bylaw, there are no plans to discipline people who have loud dogs, Rollins said.

The bylaw requires owners to ensure their pets do not disturb others.

“This isn’t about policing owners of dogs, and it isn’t about just normal dog play,” she said.

Twitter: malakabas_

Malak Abas

Malak Abas

Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.

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