How much impact does your local community have when it comes to walking the dog? If conditions were better in your region would it prompt more dog owners to take better care of their dogs? I believe that local authorities and businesses can work together to improve how dog’s are kept in their community? This is what’s happening in my neighbourhood…….
Here’s a list of some of the things our dog-friendly community offers….
1. Dog Poop Bags and Bins in popular outdoor areas. These free disposable bags are prominently displayed at the majority of public parks and beaches around my town. The bags are constantly topped up and the bins are regularly emptied by our local council. This has a two-fold effect. It gives dog-owners no excuses and it keeps the park clean for other recreational users. Other people are much happier to share their space with dogs if they’re not constantly avoiding dog faeces.
2. Clear Signage in shared public spaces. Displayed prominently next to dog poop bags are signs that clearly tell you to clean up after your dog. Next to this is often a sign that clearly states if it is a leashed dog area or an off-leash zone. In certain public areas there are even signs stating no dogs allowed. Once again this allows dog owners and other recreational users a better understanding at what can be expected in particular public spaces.
3. Water Bowls in areas that are frequently used to exercise dogs. Along the Cairns Esplanade, a popular walking/running route for all types there are not only bubblers for people but bubblers lower down for dogs. This makes it easier for dog owners to be active with their dog without the added inconvenience of lugging extra water and dispensing bowls along.4. Off-Leash Dog Parks/Beaches are available in a number of public spaces around our region. In one popular suburb a fenced dog park has been created with some permanent agility equipment for animals and owners to use. A recent survey was also taken to improve an off-leash area close to the city’s CBD.
5. Cheaper registration for spayed dogs as well as trained dogs. In Australia we pay a license fee for keeping dogs on our property. Our region’s yearly license fee drops if the dog has been neutered and drops even further if the dog has achieved a certain level of training.
6. Education. In Queensland local councils have teamed up with Australian Veterinary Association and presents talks to schools and other community groups about being a responsible pet owner and how to minimise dog attacks. The program is called PetPEP – it even has animal mascots and its aims are to educate kids about pets, safety and responsibilities.7. Social dog-walking (and running) events that often support local animal shelters. Our local council will often be involved in some way with these events as well as local businesses, in particular Pet Stock. In Port Douglas the council have created a monthly beach walk for dog-owners that are keen to socialize and get active with their dogs.
I’m not saying that our local authority is perfect but as you can see they are being proactive and making efforts to help create a more dog friendly community around our region. The more the environment that we live in is encouraging towards walking our dogs the happier and healthier the whole community will be in the long run. An active dog is a happier dog and getting them outdoors regularly will often mean that they are better behaved in their home environment.
Does your local community and government make an effort to create a dog friendly neighbourhood where you live? What other things could be added to this list?