Four legs of fury

As it does every year, the nicer weather brings people out of their self-imposed hibernation and onto the streets, parks and pathways. The snow is melting, the air is warming up and all those special presents left by “man’s best friend”, for months hidden by snow and ice, once again make their appearance. It is a rite of spring, much the same as the return of birds, and the first few tulip leaves breaking through the snow. But it’s the only one that drives people crazy!

Not everyone likes dogs. Some people like dogs a lot. I’ll bet the vast majority of people fall somewhere in between. So in order to improve human-doggie relations, here is a quick refresher on the responsibilities of dog owners. Some conflicts are inevitable, but I think we can all do our part to keep them to a minimum.

This is mainly from the City of Ottawa website.

The City of Ottawa has a by-law related to dogs (officially the Animal Care and Control By-law No. 2003-77).  This by-law includes a number of rules that apply to dogs. Since there is a by-law that means there is a mechanism for people to submit complaints against dog-owners for breaching the by-law.

For the benefit of dog-owners, here is a list of important things to remember:

  • All dogs must be registered with the City
  • Dogs are not allowed to run at large and must be kept under the control of their handler at all times when off their property
  • Dogs must be on-leash at all times when off their property, unless posted signs indicate otherwise, or they are in a securely fenced private yard
  • The leash may not exceed 3m in length
  • Dogs are not allowed within 5m of:
    • a play structure;
    • a wading pool; or
    • a spray pad
  • You must pick up all waste produced by your dog both on and off your property

For dogs in parks ( , the City has made it a bit easier to understand where and how dogs are permitted. There are 3 designations (i.e. dogs may be off leash, dogs on leash always, no dogs) and there is a policy (Dogs-in-Parks Designation Policy) that has been applied to the Alta Vista parks. The listing ( from the City shows the dogs in parks designations and any additional details.

Courtesy and respect are important values for all neighbours to show one another – two-legged or four. But it’s not all bad for dogs… Here are some reasons why it’s great to have dogs around:

  • Eyes and ears on the street: Dogs need to be walked and that means that people are out in the neighbourhood at all times of the day and night. There may not be a direct link between dogs and crime prevention, but it sure doesn’t hurt to have people familiar with the streets who would notice something out of the ordinary.
  • Meeting new friends: When you’re out with your dog, you end up meeting new people.  It never hurts to know your neighbours and a dog is a great way to get introduced.
  • Ensures no good treats are in your recycling bin: Any organics that should be in your green bin are taken care of.
  • Keeps the cats in line: The air of superiority that cats maintain needs to be kept in check.

2 thoughts on “Four legs of fury

  1. Thanks for posting and making noise about an issue that touches more and more people. Why would there be Petsmart huge sales outlets if nobody wants pets? Why would the City have a licencing system for dogs? Why would there be an SPCA sponsored by the Prime Minister?

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