New dog park opens

Tillsonburg News - - FRONT PAGE - Chris Ab­bott

With a dozen dogs and own­ers anx­iously wait­ing, Till­son­burg Coun­cil­lors and Dog Park com­mit­tee co-chairs Tyler Coghill and Pete Lu­ciani were quick to cut the of­fi­cial rib­bon Fri­day morn­ing to launch the new Till­son­burg Dog Park.

“I was re­ally sur­prised at how many peo­ple showed up at 11 (a.m.) to re­ally get into it right away,” said Coghill fol­low­ing Fri­day’s rib­bon cut­ting.

“It’s fan­tas­tic. Ob­vi­ously it’s a sign that it was a park that was needed in town and peo­ple were ex­cited to get in - and be the first in. I’m sure we’re go­ing to see great re­sults long-term with more and more peo­ple... I think we’re go­ing to see a lot of dog own­ers com­ing here and en­joy­ing it. It’s great.”

“It is great,” Lu­ciani nod­ded. “We like the site - this was our pre­ferred site. It fits, I think, in the grand scheme of Me­mo­rial Park and I think it fits as far as hav­ing a park here for prox­im­ity to lo­cal neigh­bours. It’s ba­si­cally a hub of the town - the cen­tre of the town - it’s a re­ally good spot to have a des­ti­na­tion for a dog park.”

Open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, the park seems to have al­ready be­come a ‘des­ti­na­tion’ at least dur­ing day­time hours.

“Most peo­ple won’t use the park af­ter dusk,” Coghill noted. “In the fu­ture, maybe we’ll look at putting some light­ing in, but that wasn’t in the ini­tial plans.”

“This is well over­due,” said Lu­ciani, not­ing there was an un­suc­cess­ful at­tempt to get a dog park in town back in 2008-09. “In the long run, maybe not so fast, but def­i­nitely fast since the in­cep­tion of this com­mit­tee (in 2016) and coun­cil ap­proval (April 2017).”

In the past year Lu­ciani has vis­ited most dog parks in the area, and while Till­son­burg’s may be smaller than most, he feels it is a good size.

“We can put a lot of dogs in here,” he said, not­ing there are ac­tu­ally two ar­eas, sep­a­rat­ing the small and large dogs. “I think we should be fine.”

How much time own­ers and dogs spend in the park will vary ac­cord­ing to breed, said Coghill.

“With my dogs, within 15-20 min­utes they’re done, that’s the day. But I know peo­ple with big­ger dogs who will come for an hour. Right now, it’s im­por­tant to know for peo­ple com­ing for longer pe­ri­ods, we don’t have wa­ter in the park yet, so they need to bring their own wa­ter.”

There aren’t many dog park rules, but the rules, which are posted at the park, are im­por­tant.

First, dog own­ers need to be within the en­closed, fenced area. You need to be able to con­trol your dog, and if and when nec­es­sary re­trieve your dog.

“You have got a small con­tained area, but it’s pretty big if you’re chas­ing a dog,” Lu­ciani smiled. “We do want own­ers to have the abil­ity to get your dog out when re­quired. But say­ing that, most dogs will ‘come.’”

Oc­ca­sion­ally, some dogs do not mix or a ‘sit­u­a­tion’ arises. It’s im­por­tant to be in con­trol of your dog at all times.

“A lot of the times the dogs will work out what­ever that lit­tle is­sue is. Some­times they don’t. You’ve just got to keep an eye on your dog. You’re putting your dog in with a bunch of other dogs you don’t know, it’s im­per­a­tive you take a look and keep an eye on your dog.”

There are some be­hav­iours, he said, that if you’re not used to mul­ti­ple dogs to­gether may look like ag­gres­sive be­hav­iour, but may not be.

“The bark­ing, the growl­ing, that’s pos­tur­ing...”

Go­ing for­ward, the goal for the Dog Park Com­mit­tee, now that they have a park, is to add new mem­bers.

“Our man­date was to try to get a lo­ca­tion for a park, and get a park up and run­ning,” said Lu­ciani. “Our goal now is to get a larger group the users - who are go­ing to have an in­put into this park, and be able to make sug­ges­tions and changes. It’s bet­ter to have a big­ger group, and more rep­re­sen­ta­tion from the users, who might then say, ‘you know what, we need more shade’ or ‘we need what­ever...’ That group would hope­fully re­port to Parks and Rec and hope­fully try to im­ple­ment some of that stuff.”

Shade is a pri­or­ity, he said, and at least three trees should be planted within the next week.

The dog park will be main­tained by Parks and Rec staff, but Lu­ciani said it’s im­por­tant for users to self­po­lice as far as pick­ing up af­ter your dog.

“Poop-and-scoop is still a by-law in this town, so you need to make sure you’re look­ing af­ter your dog and you’re pick­ing up af­ter your dog. That’s for the bet­ter­ment of the park and the en­joy­ment of ev­ery­body in here.”

Com­ing into the park for the first time, Lu­ciani said dogs need to be ‘fairly well be­haved’ and at least semi-so­cial­ized.

“This isn’t the spot to so­cial­ize them for the first time - the first time they’re ever go­ing to meet an­other dog. You want to make sure your dog is fairly so­cial­ized.

“We pre­fer not to see choke chains or col­lars like that be­cause dogs, as they’re play­ing, could get their teeth caught or some­thing and that would likely cause a pretty ma­jor ruckus.”

Chris Ab­bott/till­son­burg news

Bob Wass and his dog, Benji, were among the first to try out Till­son­burg's new dog park in Me­mo­rial Park Fri­day morn­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.