WINNIPEG — Frequent visitors of a downtown Winnipeg dog park weren’t wagging their tails when new signage told them to be quieter.
During the pandemic, the city has seen an uptick in traffic at dog parks, and more dogs means more noise.
Recently, Bonnycastle Dog Park in downtown Winnipeg has been the source of complaints from residents saying the noise is excessive.
Michaela Prentice brought her dog Samosa to Bonnycastle for some fresh air. On her way in, she spotted some new signage on the fence.
“I noticed that today when I came in, the ‘no excessive dog barking’ sign,” she said. “Definitely new to me, haven’t seen that before, I can see why it went up.”
Prentice said in the summer there was close to 40 or 50 dogs in the park at once, and noise was definitely an issue.
“When I was there in the summertime, there was some aggressive dogs, some really big dogs barking,” said Prentice. “(The park is) next to a large apartment building and there would be people on the balcony shouting down to be quiet.”
Cayly Askin brought her four-legged friends to Bonnycastle Dog Park to burn off some energy.
She said dogs bark when they play, and it’s a sign that they’re having fun.
“It’s a dog park, the dogs do bark, everyone always tries their best to get them not to, but I think it’s something that’s inevitable,” said Askin.
Part one of the city’s Responsible Pet Ownership By-Law says to ensure that a dog does not bark or howl or otherwise unduly disturb the quiet of any individual.
Friday, Chair of the Executive Policy Committee on Protection, Community Services and Parks Sherri Rollins tweeted about the ‘no excessive dog barking’ signs at Bonnycastle Dog Park to mixed reviews.
She said the signs weren’t installed to police dog owners, it’s about being mindful of how the barking impacts others in the area.
“It’s important to understand what excessive dog barking is. That’s howling or dog barking that’s going on for 30 minutes straight.” said Rollins. “It’s not a ‘no barking’ sign, it’s a ‘no excessive barking’ sign.”
Rollins said excessive barking could also be threatening to other dogs in the park.
Prentice said she has a big border collie that she doesn’t bring to the park because she’s too loud and aggressive. She believes other Winnipeggers should consider doing the same.
“I think if your dog is louder, perhaps take them to a park on the outskirts of the city,” said Prentice. “Maplegrove is a great big one, Assiniboine Park. (Bonnycastle) being downtown, if you have a big large dog, probably not advisable.”
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