IROQUOIS – A village dog owner is lamenting the ongoing feud between homeowners around Meadowbrook Park and neighbourhood dog owners.
“It’s turned this community from a very happy community…to a very divided community and it’s a real shame,” Carole Allman said in an interview with Brockville Newswatch.
The dispute has been going since the spring, said Allman, who has lived in the area for three summers. She said the neighbourhood – a looped square street in the subdivision off County Road 2 – has about 18 dogs.
“We all pick up after our dogs and for some reason something started this spring and several of us were confronted on our way through the park,” Allman explained, as the pathway is next to the park, which leads to the golf course. “Otherwise we would have to walk along the side of Highway 2,” she said.
Allman said she and other dog owners have had confrontations – sometimes hostile – about their canines. In one case, the police had to be called. She said there are about five residents who are not happy about dogs. Allman also noted another case where the police were notified after someone had spread what looked like red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper in the grass.
Township documents show Meadowbrook Drive residents Ralph Marin (who made a presentation to council), along with Teresa and Richard McKee and Edward Leblanc are spearheading the anti-dog movement, claiming it’s a health hazard to children.
Allman said, after the first complaint, she was informed by the South Dundas bylaw department that depositing dog waste in the garbage can was within the rules.
Allman said there was a period for a few weeks where the can was taken away, supposedly so bylaw staff wouldn’t have to “put up with this (complaints) all summer long.”
When the can returned, Allman said she happened to be walking her eight-year-old greyhound, Chai, when she bumped into Recreation and Facilities Manager Don W. Lewis.
Allman stated that she was told at the time by Lewis that the can was ‘absolutely’ supposed to be used for dog waste.
But South Dundas council, on information from Lewis and Iroquois residents against dogs in the park, decided July 21 to stop allowing waste in the trash can. Signs are expected to be going up in the coming weeks.
Despite claims from upset homeowners, Allman insists the dogs are not using the park as a potty area and any urination may be happening at least 30 feet from the playground. “I walk through that park twice a day and I have never, ever seen a dog in the play area or anybody letting their dog do their business in the play area.”
The Meadowbrook Drive dog owner also said she was assured by Mayor Evonne Delegarde the can would be cleaned out more often.
She said there’s an added problem because the municipality doesn’t allow dog poop in household waste.
Dog owners now have to take their stoop-and-scoop bags home and cut them open and flush the waste down the toilet, something Allman calls “ludicrous.”
“Some of us, including (Deputy Mayor) Jim Locke, won’t walk around the neighbourhood anymore…because they don’t want to have any more run-ins with the residents beside the park,” she said.
“When we all go for our walks we all feel like we’re being watched. We all love to walk our dogs for our own exercise as well as our dog’s exercise and I don’t enjoy my walks anymore until I’m past the park.”
Allman feels South Dundas council moved too quickly to appease the anti-dog group without hearing both sides of the dispute.
“I’m just very disappointed that the way it’s been handled is very one-sided and we were all willing to work with the Mayor (Evonne Delegarde) and come to a solution but it’s obviously not going to be that way.”
Allman explained she had proposed several alternatives for disposal of dog waste at the park – contraptions that cost less than $500.
She questioned whether this dispute could be fueled by the actions of neighbours around Meadowbrook Park, who have “taken ownership” of a township park, mowing the lawn and placing chairs. “That’s not a good thing,” Allman said.
“I think the only way it will really be resolved and, what will be the only thing that will make them satisfied, is if our dogs are banned from going through the park at all, which is a big problem for all of us to walk our dogs.”
While nothing formal has been planned, Allman said there has been thoughts of making a presentation to municipal council to air their side of the story.