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Small Dog Parks Needed for Small Dogs: Winnipeg Owner

June 2, 2024 8:08 AM | News

By Maggie Ripley

Dog Park

Small dogs gather at the Crescentwood Small Dog playgroup in 2022. (SUPPLIED PHOTO)

The owner of a dog playgroup says she wants to know how many more dogs have to be killed before the city will designate spaces in all their dog parks for smaller pups.

“I can’t tell you how many injured, small dogs have come through my program,” said Jordena Kraut, who operates Crescentwood Small Dog Playgroup.

“I don’t know what it’s going to take. We’ve sent notes to our city councillors, we have emailed community centres. We’ve asked and it’s just fallen on deaf ears, all the way up to the superintendents of parks … no response.”

The comments come after a yorkipoo was killed last month by a husky at an off-leash dog park in Bonnycastle Park.

“Some big dog owners don’t understand,” said Kraut. “Big dogs have size and strength and power over a small dog instantaneously. But small dogs tend to have big personalities.

“But if the small dog issues a warning to the big dog, and the big dog doesn’t get it, what do you think happens to the little dog?”

Winnipeg currently has one park with a designated space for small dogs, Devonshire Dog Park in Transcona, while Maple Grove Park has a designated space for puppies. But that just isn’t enough, said Kraut.

“There should be places in all four quadrants of the city,” she said.

Kraut has been running her group for the past six years, renting spaces indoors and outdoors at local community centres and charging just enough to recoup the cost of insurance and other expenses. More than 500 dogs have attended her playgroup since she launched.

However, the group has been put on hiatus after the city made changes to the rules around doggie daycares in 2022.

Now, a community centre that wants to host an off-leash dog group must apply for a permit and be willing to do the cleanup needed, said Kraut. As a result, she has been having trouble finding space to host her group.

A better solution would simply be building a fence in each dog park to allow small dogs a designated space, she said, or to have dog parks designated for small dogs on certain days.

“There’s a soccer field at the end of [my] street. Everybody takes their dogs there, to let them run and chase a ball. But I can tell you, Animal Services is there five days a week, and they will ticket you And it’s a $200 ticket. And for what? The field is empty.

“The city doesn’t give us any options.”

Kraut has started a petition to ask the city to start designating spaces for small dogs.