As it has done for the previous 12 years, The Ottawa District Canine Union 783 has submitted their yearly list of suggestions and recommendations to increase canine satisfaction through Ottawa-Carleton area. City Hall considered the group’s recommendations this past Monday. The 2016 list is primarily centered around park quality, fire hydrant density, and Leash Laws.
The group recommends implementing a “pay to play” policy at popular downtown parks. A spokesman for ODCU claims that a 1-2 dollar fee to enter the park would allow for upgrades such as fountains, communal toys, and cover cleanup costs resulting from delinquent dog owners unable to control their canine’s output. Some critics say a “pay to play” policy is a blatant discrimination on dogs with owners unable or unwilling to pay this fee.
The union also calls for a higher fire-hydrant density throughout the downtown core. Some dog’s rights advocates claim that many of the hydrants in the Byward Market are overcrowded and that the cost associated with additional hydrants would be minimal but would result in a noticeable improvement in the quality of life for downtown dogs. Sweden implemented a hydrant enrichment program in the late ‘90s and has noticed staggering increases in canine happiness polls. An unexpected side-effect was a net decrease in fire damage in each year.
Interest groups such as Canines Without Collars have lobbied to pass the controversial “Laxer Leash Law” which would allow working class dogs who serve on a municipal level, such as K-9s, to go leashless in municipal buildings and parks. The proposed law is also expected to include expanded rights for collar selection. Currently, municipal working dogs are entitled to a standard issue collar of a single solid colour of the dog’s choice, excluding fluorescent colours. This new measure would allow fluorescent colours to become available for selection by the service dogs.
Most residents are ecstatic about these changes and wish all the best to the dogs, particularly those that select fluorescent coloured collars. However, local Dion Pantouf does not agree “First we got Lassie wearing a pink collar, next we got Larry wearing a pink scarf…. where do we draw the line?”
City Hall has not made a final decision on the recommendations; however, the Canine Union has made clear that if the City does not comply, things could get ‘ruff’.