Thursday, July 16, 2009

Take your dog off-leash

Where do you go when you need to take your dog for a walk? If you’re like me, you usually go where you’ve always gone. You know the route, the dog knows the route, and you get the job done quickly and efficiently.

But what about those beautiful sunny days when you want an excuse to roam?

The City launched an interactive online mapping tool earlier this month that can help – it links you quickly and easily to all of the 138 off-leash areas in Calgary. Search by location to see what’s close by or see them all at once if you want to check out something new. An interesting tool is the “i" button at the top – hover over the paw of choice and get the park’s address.

I spoke with Joanne Hahn, Animal & Bylaw Services’ manager of policy development & public education, who said that another phase is in the works for the mapping tool that’ll give you more details for off-leash areas, like its size and amenities. Go to and check the map out for yourself!

Since this spring, Hahn’s team has been collecting citizen feedback on what we want to see as standards for off-leash areas. They’ve had over 4,400 online surveys completed and more than 150 people come out to open houses – you can see a summary of the feedback at Just yesterday they finished a phone survey, done independently, to make sure they got a random sample of all citizens’ opinions – not just of dog owners. They’ll release the results when they get them at the end of August.

Right now, all of the 138 off-leash areas are located inside multi-use parks. One of the concerns raised by citizens so far is how this impacts safety, whether it’s someone not controlling a dog or cyclists going too fast. That’s one of the considerations that’ll be part of the recommendations going to Council in October.

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