Off Leash Dog Park in Mt Pleasant Vancouver, making MP Safe for all.

Off Leash Dog Park in Mt Pleasant Vancouver, making MP Safe for all.

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karen harvey started this petition to City of Vancouver and

There is a clear and ever present need for an off leash dog park at Mt Pleasant park in Vancouver. Nearly any time of day rain or shine, dogs can be seen happily playing off leash, and owners chatting, laughing, and socializing (while physically distancing of course). As this pandemic rages on, dog adoptions have sky rocketed as people realize the mental and physical health benefits of dog ownership. 

Unfortunately, there have been a few 'incidents' lately of dog owners being verbally abused and in some cases even threatened. We are MP residents, we are all tax payers, and we all deserve to have a safe area for kids and dogs to play. Currently this park houses 3 kids playgrounds, 1 skate park, 1 full length basketball court, and zero legal off leash dog parks. If this issue remains unaddressed, sadly these conflicts are likely continue. 

In Dec. 2016 the City of Vancouver published a 102 page Independent report highlighting Mt Pleasant's need in particular. (See: A6 Service Analysis A6.1 Table 2-1 on page 14). This assessment identifies Mount Pleasant as having "large numbers of licensed dogs relative to the area of dog off-leash spaces available within it." Within the last year these numbers will have ballooned as a result of the pandemic puppy boom. As a local veterinarian I can assure you this adoption boom is like everything else, unprecedented. I do cruelty cases for the SPCA, and it was the first time I have ever seen the shelter completely empty, other than the dogs from the investigation. I couldn't believe it! Every veterinarian I have spoken to both locally and nationally have been extremely busy since the pandemic started. As essential health car providers for the other half of the family, we have been working throughout the whole thing without it slowing down at all. This boom will be reflected in the local dog population as well.  

Dog owners act as neighbourhood watch members  I have seen someone breaking into cars parked on the street, casually walked passed on our way home from the park and then immediately reported it to the police, on a few occasions. In addition to the above I have gotten to know my neighbours and have made life long friends whom I would have not likely met otherwise. I have personally picked up and safely disposed of smoking paraphernalia (methamphetamine), and the odd syringe from the park area behind the portables at Simon Fraser Elementary. This is in addition to the general trash pick up that I do while my dogs play and so they don't eat the discarded lunches or garbage.

As an emergency veterinarian, I can attest that dog parks are not without risks especially to smaller dogs. However, these parks also allow dogs to exhibit normal dog behaviour, and get the necessary amount of exercise. The concept of an 'on-leash' dog park such as the Simon Fraser Elementary gravel area is a bizarre one. Especially after hours, in the rain, in the winter etc and when it is an otherwise unoccupied open space. Dogs on leashes can also exhibit behavioural problems as some feel as tho they aren't able to run away and escape a situation in which they feel scared, and some dogs can be leash reactive where they incite conflict while on leash due to frustration. Thankfully most dogs are just very excited to see each other and just want to run and play, or play fetch endlessly for those herding breeds. I also try my best to help other dog owners understand the etiquette of the dog park, what is and isn't appropriate behaviour and play, and the importance of spaying, neutering and licensing their dogs. 

We also need to acknowledge that the price of a detached house with a yard in this area starts at $1,700,000.00 and expecting every dog owner to have a yard, or to drive to Pacific Spirit Park or other off leash parks, multiple times a day is unrealistic  not to mention goes against Vancouver's title as a green city. The daily visits from Animal Control this week obviously acknowledges there is a problem with having an 'on leash' dog park. It highlights the fact that an area where dogs can run and play is desperately needed. 

Whether you have dogs, or kids, or both, we are all part of the same community and we all deserve to be able to feel safe and enjoy the limited park area available to us. This has clearly been an issue for years, and it is time that we finally do something about it. I recommend we either install a fenced in area within Mt Pleasant park itself, or make the currently 'on leash' rules of the school yard, after hours include off-leash allowance.  

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

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At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!