Dog park ban is 'discriminatory' and should be lifted, says Rottweiler owner

An Island dog owner says a ban on certain breeds at her local dog park is discriminatory.

'To just flat out ban one breed isn't fair'

'Any dog has the potential to bite, big or small,' says Tasha Ramsay who's six-month-old Rottweiler was banned from Hounds Grounds in Slemon Park. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

An Island woman is calling the banning of certain breeds from a Prince County dog park unfair.

Tasha Ramsay tried to bring her Rottweiler Molly to Hounds Grounds in Slemon Park, but a sign posted there stated that Rottweilers, along with pit bulls, weren't welcome.   

Ramsay said it's hard to picture her six-month-old puppy as vicious.  

"She just wants to climb on everybody's back and give them a million kisses," she said. 

'She's a lovable dog'

"I feel very sad that we couldn't take her to play, very discriminated for her, because she's a lovable dog just like any other dog."

Ramsay says 'just because there's been a few instances, with a few of the breed in the past, doesn't mean you should hold that whole breed accountable.' (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

Slemon Park Corporation opened the park in 2013. President Shawn McCarvill said the ban on Rottweillers and pit bulls comes from a number of bad experiences in the past. 

"This rule is stated as part of our lease, and it is related to our experience over the last 26 years in managing this property, we have had experiences with those two dogs particularly."

Ban won't be lifted

He confirmed there's no plans to change the policy. 

McCarville says the park has no plans on changing the policy at this point. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

"Our park was established for our residents here, we are trying to manage with safety as our priority and the safety of people in our view trumps the rights of dogs."

Ramsay said another dog park in nearby Summerside doesn't ban any breeds, and plans to bring Molly there instead. She hopes officials at Slemon Park will reconsider. 

'Isn't fair'

"I'd just like to see the breed ban lifted and any dog could go play. It would be OK if they had a separate section for smaller dogs, if the owners didn't want them to mingle with bigger dogs, but to just flat out ban one breed isn't fair at all," she said. 

The sign at Hounds Grounds in Slemon Park lays out which breeds are not allowed at the park. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

Dr. Alice Crook, coordinator of the Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre at the Atlantic Veterinary College, said banning breeds doesn't work, because any breed can be aggressive.

Crook said the best way to promote safety at a dog park is through responsible dog ownership. 

"What's shown to be more effective is dangerous dog legislation, which actually addresses problems of individual dogs and stresses the importance of owner responsibility."

Breed ban ineffective

She said the onus is on dog owners, and not a specific breed.

Before owners bring their pets to a dog park, Crook suggests owners vaccinate and neuter their animals.

If your dog is exhibiting aggressive behaviour, Crook said there are animal behaviourists on the Island who can help. 

More P.E.I. news

With files from Jessica Doria-Brown


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