EDITORIAL – Tread very carefully in relaxing rules on dogs in parks

(Image: Mel

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.


The City has plentiful dog parks and earns the label “dog friendly.” Any time there’s a planning discussion you can be sure dogs are part of it. The city boasts 24 off-leash dog parks, 26 on-leash parks and an official off-leash dog beach, namely the popular Pioneer Park.

A new Facebook page called Kamloops Dog Families thinks there should be more. It wants the City to provide more green space for dogs, and the school district to allow dogs under control on school grounds after school hours and on weekends.

The general argument is that dog numbers are rising and the City isn’t keeping pace. Another intriguing argument made by the group is that allowing dogs in more parks, especially Riverside, would reduce the accumulation of Canada Goose poop because the dogs would scare off the honkers.

Allowing people to walk their dogs in more parks would also potentially reduce drug use and drug dealing there, the group contends.

I have to challenge the claim of the group that Pioneer Park is kept clean by dog owners. A lot of people ignore the doggie bags that are provided and just let Fido do his thing wherever he wants. I even saw a dog take a major dump just off shore in the water one day and the owner, who was right beside the animal, kick it further into the river.

Fact is, not everybody is a dog owner or even necessarily likes dogs. Many folks enjoy being able to visit a park without dogs around. That’s why the City prohibits dogs in 18 of its parks, including McArthur Island, Prince Charles and, of course, Riverside.

And yet, a pilot project allowing leashed dogs in Riverside Park would be worth a try. Maybe dog owners would use the privilege responsibly. If it works, it could be tried elsewhere.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9052 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

6 Comments on EDITORIAL – Tread very carefully in relaxing rules on dogs in parks

  1. With way too many irresponsible and inconsiderate dog owners and an abundance of “laissez faire” attitude from Bylaws this proposal is to be nixed immediately.

  2. No. Leave one park where you can walk with your small children and not have to worry about big dogs. They can walk the River’s Trail towards Pioneer Park.

  3. Up With Dogs!

  4. Mel Formanski // December 1, 2020 at 9:19 AM // Reply

    I totally agree that we have more than enough green space for dogs in Kamloops. As a dog owner, I am continually dismayed at the sight of feces all along the Rivers Trail, at Aviation Way and even parks where there are no dogs allowed. Mac Island is one example where folks take their dogs despite signs everywhere saying it is off-limits to dogs. My favs are the owners of little dogs who seem to think they are not dogs at all so should be allowed everywhere. Alot of us pick up after irresponsible dog owners just so places are not going to be shut down because of stupid humans that spend all their time on their phones or yakking with each other instead of watching and interacting with their dogs. Just because it is winter, folks are already taking their dogs to Riverside Park and allowing them to defecate there. Can you imagine what it would be like in the summer? Bylaws have enough on its plate with street folks they can’t be expected to monitor the dog situation as well in every park.

  5. NO PLEASE!! Its NOT worth a try.

  6. The entire dog situation is becoming to much. We already have dogs going in these parks by rule breakers and it doesn’t work as they are almost always badly behaved and owners leave to much leash inconveniencing others trying to get by. Last thing we want is a dog jumping on us or approaching me and chasing the squirrels or owls which we enjoy seeing. A dog can walk any city street please leave the parks alone! I already avoid the Farmers market because of dogs and now parks too?

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