Nova Scotia

Halifax off-leash dog park locations may be tied to licences

Dog owners in Halifax may want to register their pets because it could help them get new off-leash parks in the future.

The proposal for a new off-leash dog park strategy needs approval from council

The proposal for a new off-leash dog park strategy needs approval from council and park officials think the new rules could be ready by spring 2016. (CBC)

Dog owners in Halifax may want to make sure their pets are registered because it could help secure them a new off-leash park in their community.

City park officials told a meeting of the community planning committee this week they want to implement a new set of rules because many current off-leash parks were set up as pilot projects and demand is not going away.

"There is an appetite for a greater distribution of these types of facilities," said Peter Bigelow, the manager of policy and planning for the parks and recreation department.

He says staff want to base any new recommendations for off-leash parks on city statistics that indicate where the highest number of licensed dogs are located.

"I think the big message here is, 'Wow. You have to license your dog," said Jennifer Watts, the councillor for Peninsula North. "You'll get services where there are dogs and we only know if there's a dog there if it's licensed."

Bigelow says bylaws are quite clear right now: people are not supposed to be using off-leash parks if their dog is not licensed.

Some of the rules for off-leash parks could also be tweaked. For instance, fencing has typically not been allowed, but Bigelow says staff now believe it could be used in some circumstances.

The proposal for a new off-leash dog park strategy needs approval from council. Once the go-ahead is given, park officials think the new rules could be ready by spring 2016.

How many dogs are registered in your community? It could determine the location of future off-leash dog parks. (CBC News Graphics | Photo: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters)


Pam Berman


Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to


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