Calgary

Dogs running loose at Nose Hill park has long-time user fed up

“There are two ways this park is going to go, it’s either going to be protected … or it’s going to become a dirt dog park that's filled with crap,” said Tara Little.

Convert the entire park to on-leash as a way to curb bad behaviour, suggests one woman

Tara Little shared this photo of dogs running off-leash in Nose Hill Park. (Tara Little)

A Calgary woman is fed up with dog owners who disobey the rules at Nose Hill Park — so she's urging the city to make it entirely on-leash.

But the city councillor for the area says he's reluctant to go to that extreme.

Tara Little has been walking in Nose Hill Park for 30 years.

Recently, however, she says she's noticed what she calls a drop in people's respect for wildlife and the environment.

"There are two ways this park is going to go, it's either going to be protected … or it's going to become a dirt dog park that's filled with crap," she said.

Little's biggest pet peeve is owners letting dogs run off-leash in what is mostly an on-leash park, chasing ducks, deer and coyotes, as well as other park users.

Tara Little says she's worried about dogs bothering wildlife, like this coyote, in Nose Hill Park. (Tara Little)

She'd like the city to take more action instead of just responding to complaints

"The only way I can actually see change happening here, as far as protecting dogs, protecting wildlife, is for it to become an on-leash park only," she said.

More enforcement needed

Coun. Sean Chu, who represents the area, says he's not sure that's doable, but he does think more enforcement might send a stronger message.

"We need undercover guys out there, if you have a bylaw officer in uniform, you can see [them from] miles away and the people are going to behave," he said.

"The only time people are not behaving themselves is when there's no authority."

Chu said he'd like to see a week-long enforcement blitz by bylaw officers each summer to remind pet owners of their responsibilities as the number of complaints made to his office about dogs running off-leash in the area has been going up in recent years.

"They're biting cyclists, they're biting people, but also being friendly too," he said.

"They're also chasing wild animals."

Chu says the city is also revamping its pet ownership bylaws to try to curb bad behavior.

With files from Colleen Underwood

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