London

Dogs have their own public parks. Do they deserve a public water supply too?

A group of London, Ont., dog owners will ask a city hall committee on Tuesday for a water supply in Pottersburg dog park, saying it will cut down on waste and reduce the chance of dogs spreading canine diseases to other dogs.

A London city hall committee will examine whether to add plumbing to Pottersburg Dog Park

A Jack Russel terrier stays cool in the shade at a London, Ont., dog park. A city hall committee will debate on Tuesday whether to add a public water supply to Pottersburg off-leash dog park on Hamilton Road. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

A city hall committee will examine whether to add a water supply to Pottersburg dog park Tuesday, a feature that dog owners in the area say is badly needed and would bring the London, Ont., park in line with similar parks in other communities. 

London has five off-leash dog parks, including Pottersburg, on Hamilton Road east of Highbury, Greenway, in Greenway Park, Stoney Creek on Adelaide, north of Windemere, Campbell Memorial in Campbell Memorial Park and Caesars on Commissioners Road East — none of them currently have water supplies. 

"It's a necessity. There's many dogs in the park that don't always have access to water," said dog owner Mark Camaert, who along with Rick Hislap have written to city hall making the request on behalf of the Pottersburg Paws Facebook group. 

"There are dishes in the park that people will put down there, but my dog actually got kennel cough from sharing water I'm guessing, even though we bring our own. It would be nice to have a fresh source. The temperatures are getting hotter. It's not too much to ask for our four-legged friends." 

'It sounds like an unnecessary expense'

Not everyone thinks that way, however. At Stoney Creek off-leash dog park on Adelaide Street, a group of dog owners thinks there are better ways to spend the city's money. 

"To me, it sounds like an unnecessary expense when there's so much going on that needs to be done these days. I think we're quite happy with it as we are," said dog owner Jill Rowe. 

To me, it sounds like an unnecessary expense when there's so much going on that needs to be done.- Jill Rowe

"We bring our own water and most people are here for an hour and a half tops, I think. I don't know — it sounds exorbitant to me." 

Rowe said she thinks the money would be better spent addressing human problems in the city, such as crime, drug addiction and homelessness. 

"If they put it in, I'd enjoy it, but there's a park in Lucan and they already have water in it," said dog owner Sean Wolfe. "We still bring our own water even though there's water there." 

A water supply would be 'life changing'

While there are some detractors, others, such as Seline Mayhew, said she would drive the extra mile just to go to the park with a water supply. 

"I think that would be life changing," she said. She brings Maze, a German shepherd, and Denver, a lab mix, to the Stoney Creek dog park every day. The dogs even have their own Instagram account

Seline Mayhew is shown with her two dogs, Denver, a black lab mix, and Maze, a German shepherd, in Stoney Creek off-leash dog park. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

Mayhew said when her dogs aren't posing for pictures, they're running in the park. Under the molten July sun, they need as much water as they can get. 

"We easily go through this in an hour," she said holding up a 3½-litre jug. "The dogs can't handle this heat.

"Normally we come and they play and they run, but they can't handle it in this heat. If there was water here, we'd be able to stay a lot longer and enjoy it."

Mayhew said she'd support a water supply in the park, even if it wasn't her usual spot. 

"If they were to put water in a park that was further from us, I would make the drive." 

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