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The dogs have barked!

Saanich Council has decided that leashless dogs will be able to continue to run around three parks in the municipality this summer, including Mount Doug.

On Monday May 31st, Saanich council unanimously defeated the motion to no longer allow dogs to be off leash in Mt Doug, Cuthbert Holmes and Panama Flats.

In a tweet, Councillor and CRD Director, Ned Taylor, let the cat out of the bag or the dogs off their leashes by announcing the decision.

Taylor also announced that Saanich Council is looking at a district-wide policy for dogs in parks.

Before the announcement, off-leash dogs were permitted in most Saanich parks but the district has no formal off-leash dog areas. With over 170 parks in Saanich, dog parks are among the fastest-growing recreational amenities in city parks.

The concept was born after the Cadboro Bay Residents’ Association (CBRA) requested a fenced area for dogs in Cadboro-Gyro Park, in hopes it would reduce pressure on the beach.

Earlier in May, the district of Saanich announced pop-up off-leash areas will come to various Saanich parks in a new pilot project called ‘Paws in Parks.’

Currently, off-leash dogs are permitted in most Saanich parks but the district has no formal off-leash dog areas. With over 170 parks in Saanich, dog parks are among the fastest-growing recreational amenities in city parks.

‘Paws in Parks,’ the pilot recommended by Saanich’s Parks, Trails and Recreation Committee (PTR) will test the idea of establishing fenced dog parks in Saanich of different sizes for two-week periods in July and August.

The concept was born after the Cadboro Bay Residents’ Association (CBRA) requested a fenced area for dogs in Cadboro-Gyro Park, in hopes it would reduce pressure on the beach.

During a council meeting on Monday, May 17th the ‘Paws in Parks’ pilot was unanimously approved, with an approved budget up to $30,000.

The new fenced-in parks will be open from dawn to dusk, have dedicated staff and be monitored by animal control.

At the end of the pilot, the staff will prepare a report for council which will gauge public reception of the possibility of introducing more parks similar to this as well as options for moving.

With files from Mariah Burchell

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