Pooches, owners turn up noses at newly renovated Leslieville dog park

A Leslieville dog park that pet owners contributed thousands of dollars to renovate is getting some bad reviews, not only from some owners, but their dogs, as well.

Dog owners contributed $20K for improvements but some now say they're not good enough

This pooch is one of the dogs that use the newly-renovated run near Dundas Street East and Greenwood Avenue. Some owners are unhappy with the changes. (Ousama Farag/CBC)

A Leslieville dog park that pet owners contributed thousands of dollars to renovate is getting bad reviews, not only from some owners, but their dogs, as well.

"People in the dog walking community are extremely upset that their office space and the place where they exercise their dogs is pretty much useless now," said dog trainer Katie Reid.

The dog run, located at Dundas Street East and Greenwood Avenue, re-opened after about a month-long renovation last week.

It was originally made up of a crushed granite material that was prone to problems. There was a persistent smell of urine and, when the weather was dry, dogs would kick up giant clouds of dust. The park also suffered from poor drainage.

Dog trainer Katie Reid says dogs no longer run freely on the surface and says the city didn't listen to people in the community. (Ousama Farag/CBC)

A number of residents banded together back 2012 and petitioned the city to re-surface the park, and kicked in about $20,000 of their own money to help with improvements.

Reid wanted the city to install cedar wood chips. Instead, the new ground is made up of pea gravel.

She says dogs no longer run freely on the surface and wishes the city had listened to people in the community.

"I felt like instead of it being a partnership ... I was battling my nemesis the entire time," Reid said.  

City response

The city's parks department says pea gravel is standard for dog parks.

Coun. Paula Fletcher, who represents Ward 30, Toronto Danforth, says she's heard several complaints about the new park.

The new pea gravel surface at the dog park. Some dog owners say the gravel is hard on the animals' feet. (Ousama Farag/CBC)

"Getting it right is important to me," said Fletcher. "I'm a big champion for dogs having a great place to go."

Fletcher said several ground materials were tested before pea gravel was selected, though she couldn't say whether dogs were part of the trial process.

Dog-walker David Schilling says the animals might not be able to run as much but the surface makes them work harder so they burn just as much energy. (Ousama Farag/CBC)

"It might be great for drainage, but not for play and fun times dogs like to have at the dog park, so we may have to change it."

Not all dog owners are against the park's new surface.

Dog walker David Schilling brings about six dogs to the dog run every day.

"I actually quite like it," he said. "The dogs don't run and play quite as hard. With the [new] ground they have to work that much harder, and burn off much more energy."


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