A Vancouver dog owner has launched an online petition to protest the annual summer schedule changes that limit off-leash hours at one of the city’s most popular pet parks.
Starting May 1, Hadden Park – better known as Kits Dog Beach – will only allow dog owners to have their animals off leash between 6 and 10 a.m., and again from 5 to 10 p.m. The restricted hours will continue until October 1, when the Vancouver Park Board allows pet owners to have dogs off-leash between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
In her online petition, Tina Granic says there are already too few parks in the city where you can allow your pet to freely roam, and restricting the hours dogs are allowed at Hadden Park during the warmer spring and summer months means many pet owners will have to choose between their pet and the beach.
“In a city that provides very little off leash space why take away this one too? This small stretch of beach has been known as the dog beach to many for years, and it is enjoyed by many dogs and dog owners for years,” she wrote.
City bylaws stipulate that dogs aren’t allowed on “bathing” beaches, but Hadden Park was approved as an off-leash dog area in 2008 by the park board.
Granic wants Hadden Park to be off-leash 24 hours a day, all year round.
“Dogs need the space to be free and run and chase balls and socialize. Whether it is a stretch of beach, or a park, they NEED it! So unless it is going to be illegal to own a dog all together, then the city needs to provide the space to allow what is NEEDED!” Granic wrote.
Responding to the online campaign, a board member of the Vancouver Parks Board told Vancity Buzz the regularly scheduled change in hours happen every summer, and aren’t new.
Hundreds of people have already signed the online petition, many saying the already limited freedoms of dog owners in Vancouver shouldn’t be further restricted.
“Dogs need off leash beaches at all times of the day. There are plenty of other beaches for anyone who doesn’t want to be around dogs,” wrote Cheryll Forge.
“I may not like the fact that practically the whole rest of Kits Beach is taken up by volleyball nets, but I’m not complaining about that. Let us keep one little scrap of beach for our dogs! Wanting your dog to have a happy healthy life should not be a crime!” wrote petitioner Ariane Behrend.
The Vancouver Park Board provides 36 designated off-leash areas across Vancouver, four of which are fenced.