Dog owners want action from the town on off-leash area for their pets

Monique Chiasson
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TRURO - Truro's Juanita Powell wants the same respect for dog owners that bicyclists and walkers receive.
"I was told I can't walk my dog off-leash on a trail because someone might come around the corner not expecting to see him and get scared ... but I've seen cyclists come 50 miles an hour around the corner on trails unexpectedly," said Powell. "It's frustrating ... all we want is an area for dogs to be able to go to unleashed. I never expected it to take this long."
Powell told the Truro Daily News a petition with more than 300 names supporting an unleashed area for dogs was ready for presentation to Truro town council in 2005. According to Powell, she did not have to make a formal presentation because council already approved the idea but was awaiting a good location.
The town considered an area on Young Street near the dump, but dismissed it for fear of methane gas concerns.
"There's been no forward movement," since then Powell told this paper Friday, adding she called the town "about one year ago" but no one returned her call. She again did not have any success when she tried a few weeks ago.
"I think there is a small group who don't like dogs or are fearful of them. I understand that, but give us an alternative. I use the park every day and (dog owners) are being singled out to not use the park the way we want to. Tens of thousands of communities have dog parks; this is not re-inventing the wheel."
At a March meeting of Truro town council, Coun. Diane Bennett-Cook addressed the issue, stating the town is still interested in an off-leash area.
"We are actively looking for an off-leash dog area ...," the Ward 1 councillor said at the meeting.
Last Thursday, five people, including Powell, attended a Colchester County council meeting when fellow dog owner Kim Cole of Bible Hill brought the desire for an unleashed area to council.
"It's not a place for aggressive dogs," said Cole.
She said exercise, establishing friendships and the promotion of responsible dog ownership were some of the benefits of an off-leashed area. Cole said there are more than 400 people on Facebook supporting the idea locally.
Cole suggested even one acre of land, somewhere central to town, would be a good start.
"You'd just need a fenced-in area, garbage bins and signs."
Those gathered would even consider an area along Marshland Drive, despite flooding issues.
"The angels sang when I heard that (possibility)," said Powell. "Flooding is a concern but now we have nothing."
Council referred the matter to a committee for further discussion.

mchiasson@trurodaily.com

Organizations: Truro town council, Truro Daily News, Colchester County council

Geographic location: Young Street

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