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Truro dog park is not the place for children

The rules are stated on three signs at the Marshland Drive dog park.
The rules are stated on three signs at the Marshland Drive dog park. - Lynn Curwin

TRURO, N.S.

Following a recent case where a small child was bitten by a dog at an Ontario dog park, people are being reminded that children 12 and younger should not be inside the fenced-in area of the Marshland Drive Dog Park.

“We don’t know of any child being hurt at the Truro park, but this is a place for dogs to be off-leash in safety, and people shouldn’t have to worry about their dog hurting a child,” said Grace Smith-Weatherbee, one of the people involved in putting together rules for the park.

On Sept. 23, a three-year-old girl suffered several puncture wounds when she was bitten, and dragged about 25 feet, by a husky type dog at a Mississauga off-leash dog park. That park’s regulations only stated that children were to be under the supervision of an adult.

“Some dogs aren’t used to children, but even dogs that are good with them can make a mistake while playing and knock down a small child,” said Smith-Weatherbee. “We did research before opening here, and found most places had rules saying small children weren’t permitted.

“People are going to these parks to have a safe place to be out with their dog.”

Rule 15, on signs posted both outside and inside the fence at the park, state, “Children 12 and under are not permitted in the dog park.”

Smith-Weatherbee said it appeared the rule had been scraped off the larger sign at one point, but it has been added again.

Some people have told her they’ve left the park when people showed up with children.

Joel Dawe, acting director of parks, recreation and culture, said they do get some reports of smaller children in the dog park. He suggested, if people feel comfortable doing it, they point out the rule to others.

“There’s signage at three spots in the park,” he said.

“We’ve got a number of places kids can go, but only one where dogs can run free.

“Excited dogs could bump into a child and hurt them. We don’t want a child to be hurt, and then have dogs suffer because of it.”

lynn.curwin@trurodaily.com

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