Col Sam Smith: how can we request it to be a dog-free park?
Outdoor Ontario

Col Sam Smith: how can we request it to be a dog-free park?

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mr.sharp-photo

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Just wondering what your thoughts are.
I see enough off-leash dogs running through the weeds, going into the ponds, and running through the off-limit areas that i think that it would make sense (but irk some people) if SS became a dog-free park, similar to the Spit.
considering how close the grebes nest to the shoreline, consideration has to be made for our winged buddies.

any thoughts about this? and if people think this makes sense, how does one get this accomplished?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


KPaw

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Off leash dogs can be a problem everywhere. A couple of months ago a duck  was attacked, and  seriously injured, when a large off leash dog romped into Grenadier Pond.  Particularly annoying as High Park a very large off leash area.  

Dog-owners have rights also; however, there will always be a small group of them that decide to ignore signs and by-laws and simply let their dogs off leash and an even smaller group of them who are extremely nasty if you politely suggest they leash their dog. It is these people who ruin it for all dog owners,  the majority  of whom should not be penalized so I don't think it is appropriate to have the park made an off leash area. Rather, the small groups of dog-owners who ruin it for everyone have to somehow be dealt with.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


mr.sharp-photo

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but why not have a dog-free park in more ecologically-sensitive parks? and, in my opinion, between the nesting trees for BCNH, the snowy owl in the winter and the grebes, Sam Smith falls under that category.

i should also add, tongue in cheek, that we should perhaps have an idiot-free park as well. yesterday, at SS, i witnessed:

-a couple leave their truck without a dog or a camera. kind of thought it was strange. later, saw her in the tall grass, removing her pants. not sure if they were having sex or just taking nude photos, but it was strange
-an older lady in sweat pants walking her two (off-leash) dogs, with garden shears, cutting branches of pussy willows off. each branch was 3 feet long. i attempted to politely say something to her. she said "no no, it's spring. it's fine to cut these."  i walked away and googled "pussy willow" and they are spring bloomers. she was cutting off live, not dead, plants.

so i walked up to her again and said "please don't cut off live branches. you don't have the authority." she replied "this is my park. i've lived here for 20 years. i can cut them. those plants need to be taken care off." at this point, i lost it, told her i'd call the cops (she was not listening to anything i was saying) and launched a few choice words in her general direction.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


Trillian Flummox

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Even though I love dogs and have had the pleasure of a few in my life, I also feel the frustration of too many off-leash dogs at Sam's (and most other Toronto parks). I believe Tommy Thompson Park is a unique exception in the GTA with its dog free policy - you can find a little info about that here: http://www.tommythompsonpark.ca/home/faq.dot#q15    I also wonder if other conservation areas under the jurisdiction of the TRCA are more successful in keeping dogs on-leash because they usually have visible staffers on-site, unlike properties managed by Toronto Parks & Rec?

Anyway, a good place to begin might be the "Friends of Sam Smith Park":  http://www.friendsofsamsmithpark.blogspot.ca  Looking at their blog it sounds like they have been very instrumental in making things happen in that park. They sound supportive of birding initiatives like the Grebe breeding program and the spring Birding Festival, so maybe they would be willing to discuss your concerns. Note: check out the info on their blog about the upcoming storm water treatment project coming to Sam's.

Since having kids I've discovered that dog owners can be a powerful force to be reckoned with, especially when they are organized (yes there is a Sam Smith Dog Owner's Assoc.)  I am continually frustrated by the complete lack of safe, dog poop free parks for my kids to play in!  The argument that the well-being of human children should trump the fun of dogs tends to fall on deaf ears. Even the parks that have fenced in off leash areas are plagued by off leash dogs throughout the entire park. Even my kid's school yard isn't safe from dog poop - despite clearly visible signs prohibiting dogs anywhere on the property. Sorry I'm a bit jaded on this issue! So, although I think the idea of Sam's becoming completely dog-free is unattainable, perhaps there are other compromises? Maybe only the most significant areas (i.e. the wetlands and marina shoreline) could be designated as dog-free? Of course I have no idea how that could be enforced! There would need to be a lot of signage (which would require funding) and an effort to educate the public.

Another thing that might help is for all of us birders to phone in complaints about off-leash dogs in the park. Maybe animal control could do a few ticketing blitzes??  Does anyone know who you can call to report off-leash dogs?

Anyway, good luck with your efforts Richard. I admire your initiative.

-kris
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


thouc

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The rules are not the main problem, it's people ignoring the rules and lack of enforcement that is.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


Trillian Flummox

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Ok I managed to answer my own question. You can contact Toronto Animal Services Enforcement department to report off-leash dogs.  Thouc is absolutely right - there is a bylaw that clearly states dogs are only allowed off-leash on private property or in designated off-leash zones - but unfortunately it is rarely enforced (presumably due to inadequate funding/manpower).

Complaints for bylaw infractions (e.g., dog running at large, dog off leash, failure to stoop & scoop, etc.) may be reported during normal business hours by calling 416-338-PAWS (7297) or by email:  TASEMRU@toronto.ca

You can also send your complaints to a certain mayor, who sounds sympathetic to off-leash concerns based on this Toronto Star article last spring: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2012/04/02/mayor_rob_ford_cracks_down_on_offleash_dogs.html

-kris
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


lovemypt

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Quote from: "thouc"
The rules are not the main problem, it's people ignoring the rules and lack of enforcement that is.


Good luck with that...I was there last year and just had an incident where a huge dog came running right up to me growling and staring, any closer and it would of been wearing a tripod as a new head piece. I continued a bit further and along came a parks/ city/ enforcement van driving along path. I spoke the the driver and explained what happen...and driver simply shrugged his shoulder and kept driving..... my tip for you Richard is to get the biggest..heaviest tripod ( cheapest)  you can find  and let gravity take it turn :D ......  and I do love dogs as well but not in a park like Col Sam and off leash..you make the petition and I will sign it
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


Rotarran

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Yesterday I saw the stupidest thing at Ashbridges Bay.  One huge dog chasing a somewhat smaller dog and the owners of both trying frantically to get a hold of them with very little luck.  The big dog was very aggressive towards the smaller dog and the smaller dog was clearly distressed and crying for help.  The owners of both even fell to the ground trying to tackle the bigger dog and this went on for quite a while.  I felt bad for all parties involved but this is what happens when dogs are off the leash.  This was a case of the dog owners getting a taste of their own medicine.  

Both dogs were leashed for the rest of the time that they were there.  I understand that sometimes dogs need to run free...it's part of their nature.  But if you let your dog off the leash, you better have it well trained so that once you give it a command, it should be as good as a leash.  And I have no problem with dog-owners that have well trained and obedient dogs off the leash.  My problem is with dog-owners that haven't put a lick of training into their dogs and barely seem to know what they're doing.  Those kinds of people shouldn't have pets period.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »
Today is a good day to bird!


Pat Hodgson

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There is a documentary on CBC tonight at 9pm about dogs that touches on the topic at hand, apparently.
http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/episode/dog-dazed.html
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »
Pat Hodgson
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Howieh

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Quote from: "Rotarren"
My problem is with dog-owners that haven't put a lick of training into their dogs and barely seem to know what they're doing.  Those kinds of people shouldn't have pets period.

or kids! :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


dawnofthewolf

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Quote
Good luck with that...I was there last year and just had an incident where a huge dog came running right up to me growling and staring,

Thats the worst aspect, the possibility of being attacked or bitten.  I always chuckle when I hear the alarmist stories about coyotes in contrast to aggressive domestic breeds  which can maim you.

Quote
. A couple of months ago a duck was attacked, and seriously injured, when a large off leash dog romped into Grenadier Pond.

Years ago. saw a large poodle chasing two deer who crashed down the steep ridge near the path going up to Erindale College.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »