Your Letters

St. Thomas Times-Journal, Feb. 24, 2010 Letters to the Editor



Kudos to the organizers of our first dog park.  The location is perfect, the layout couldn’t be better.

We were glad to see baggies and garbage containers well laid out.  We were there today with our eight-month-old German shepherd puppy and met many new and wonderful two-legged and four-legged friends.

Cesar (The Dog Whisperer) would be proud of you.

Congratulations and thank you.

Maryann McCoy

St. Thomas

St. Thomas Times-Journal, Feb 27, 2010 Ian McCallum, City Scope


One of those unheralded St. Thomas success stories will receive the attention it deserve on May 22 and 23, with the grand-opening celebrations at the Lions Club off-leash dog park.

The facility, in the shadow of Jumbo, has proven a popular meeting place for two- and four-legged friends and will only increase in popularity as the weather improves.

A tribute to the St. Thomas Dog Owners Association and Joe Spencer who have spent a dog’s age working on this.

Activities planned include dog photos and contests, fund-raising events and information booths.

A marketing tip to the organizers…dispense with the traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony and instead slice through a dog leash to officially open the park.

A great photo op.  Really, it’s the leash you can do.

London Free Press, Mar 5, 2010 Letters to the Editor

The issue of off-leash dog parks is sure to heat up at city council as more dog owners access these parks.

I am concerned about the apparent lack of education regarding the use of these facilities.  I have personally witnessed children under the age of five running free in these parks.  Such children are susceptible to being knocked over or receiving a full body impact hit from dogs running at full tilt.  This would also hold true for puppies being brought into the large-dog section of the park.

More disturbing is the apparent lack of knowledge about dog socialization or pack mentality.  Persons using these parks should have a good solid understanding of dog mentality.  Equally, they should be proactive and know full well how to address or interrupt a heated dog interaction.

Many will coin these as a fight; in fact, they are heated exchanges between dogs that are equally dominant.  Putting one’s hand in between such an altercation will surely result in an accident.  The proper way to remove two dogs that do not seem to agree with one another is to pull on the hind legs of the dog and remove it from the altercation.

Further to this is the use of toys in these parks.  Toys are forbidden, yet many well-meaning owners do bring toys into the park.  Dogs become fixated on the toy and some may be quite dominant in their pursuit of it.  This can also lead to dogs fighting.

It is this knowledge I see lacking in many individuals who frequent dog parks.  From my perspective, if these issues are not properly addressed, if the public is not properly educated on the use of these parks, there is sure to be a situation of magnitude arise.

The dog parks are designed for dogs to run freely and socialize with other dogs.  It is not a playground and requires the full respect of what we are dealing with here and that is the perspective of the dog.

Jane Boak


St. Thomas Times-Journal, May 21 2009, Letters to the Editor



I was very pleased to see the subject of an off-leash dog park being discussed again.

About eight years ago, I approached city council to consider an off-leash dog park.  I made a presentation to council outlining the interest and advantage of such a park – nothing happened.

A year-and-a-half later I tried again, this time submitting other [cities’] park plans, rules, and regulations, also the positive outcomes of their parks.

I attended meetings with other interested parties and two of our council members  Again, nothing happened.  However, about two years ago, the process for acquiring an off-leash dog park was put into motion again.

Supervisor of parks, Ross Tucker, was supportive and encouraging.  With his help a possible piece of land was located, funds were found for fencing and it seemed all was in place and we could now move forward.

But again, no park.  The interest in a dog park has never waned, as Ald Terry Shackelton was reported as saying.

The proposal for this park was once again stalled in one of the many sub-committees.  A city of our size should be able to provide an area to satisfy the wishes of these dog owners.

I sincerely hope an off-leash dog park will be seriously and successfully dealt with this time.

Janet Ronald

St. Thomas

St. Thomas Times-Journal, May 20 2006, Ian McCallum, City Scope

Bill Zardus is a big fan of wire fox terriers and in a letter to this corner, he challenges a claim from the city’s insurance broker that leash free parks are high risk.

“In three years of reading dog park stories I have never ever seen an insurance company advise a municipal government that a dog park required a separate high risk policy.”

There are two ways to make off-leash parks significantly safer, notes Zardus.

“They should use electronic access cards to regulate and track who is in the park at specific times.  People keep much better track of their dogs when they know they can be held accountable.”

Multiple enclosures should also be explored, says Zardus.

“Three enclosures (two for large dogs) also make dog parks safer.  When owners are able to avoid problem owners and problem dogs easily that forces people to rein in their dog or find themselves alone in one side of the park.”

St. Thomas-Elgin Super Shopper, October 21 2009, Letters to the Editor

Doggone Park

I don’t see why taxpayers who don’t have dogs would pay for conveniences for taxpayers that do have dogs.  Money [for the leash-free dog park] should come from Dog Tag charges.

Floyd Ellison

St. Thomas

St. Thomas-Elgin Super Shopper, October 28 2009, Letters to the Editor

Response to Doggone Park

As a dog owner with no children, I don’t see why my taxes should have to go towards school taxes when I don’t have children, or to pay for children’s playgrounds – or maybe I shouldn’t have to pay taxes towards city transit because I don’t use it, or the Frisbee golf park.  If everyone had this attitude, we wouldn’t have any city funded programs.  I don’t complain about my tax dollars going towards services I don’t use because we all have these services available to us, even if we don’t use them.  So stop complaining, adopt a dog and enjoy the new park.

Wendy Bouthot

St. Thomas

Where do you draw the line?

As a dog owner, and as a member of the community as a whole, I am concerned about the sentiments expressed by Mr. Ellison about the new dog park.  Out in the country we pay a hefty property tax and for that we receive snow plowing, garbage collection and trimmed trees, that’s about it.  However, I don’t resent my taxes going towards the new sidewalks or new school additions in town.  My friends use those sidewalks and their children go to those schools.  Our health care dollars go to people who are dying of lung cancer.  As a non-smoker do I resent that?  Of course not.  So where do you draw the line?  A community only feels like family when we all look out for one another, including our beloved dogs.

Kristina Nethercott


St. Thomas-Elgin Super Shopper, November 11, 2009, Letters to the Editor

Doggone Ratepayers

If we agree with Mr. Ellison, that money for the leash free dog park should come only from dog tag charges, then it stands to reason that there should also be no public subsidies for hockey arenas, ball diamonds, soccer pitches, museums, etc. etc.  Realistically, certain activities will always have to be subsidized.  In this case, dog owners also are citizen taxpayers and as such have a right to a small piece of the pie.

Jack Hooghiem

St. Thomas

The St. Thomas Dog Owners Association is a non-profit organization that promotes off leash dog parks and supports responsible dog ownership and the welfare of dogs.