Dog park plea

Jake and Sasha. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS 240150_04

By Danielle Kutchel

A Casey dog trainer is calling on the council to provide special dog parks for pooches with anxiety, to keep them and their fellow four-legged friends safe and happy.

Jake, who runs Power Pooches and adopted pooch Sasha during the 2020 Covid lockdown, has submitted a proposal to the City of Casey for a private dog park “to exercise and train dogs that are unable to socialise with other dogs”.

According to the Jake’s proposal, as many as 50 per cent of dogs now have some sort of anxiety issue with the number increasing after each lockdown.

He said many dog owners are unaware of the signs of canine anxiety, and don’t know how to react if their own or another dog is experiencing the condition.

Jake’s dog Sasha has anxiety, and Jake said they had been abused both physically and verbally by other dog walkers when Sasha reacted badly to other off-leash dogs.

He believes a private dog park would eliminate the problem by giving anxious dogs a place to play in safety and privacy.

The private park would be exclusively for dogs registered to the City of Casey with a documented special need, and owners would have to bring their own bags and water bowls and would need to clean up after using the park.

“As a dog owner of a rescue dog and a ratepayer in the City of Casey, I do not feel as though I am supplied with a safe area to train,” he said in the proposal.

“There are many other dog owners in the City of Casey that are like me.

“We need a facility like this that is secure, safe and accessible to registered owners of special needs dogs.”

But the City of Casey has rejected the proposal, according to an email sent to Jake and seen by Star News Group.

In a statement, the City of Casey’s Daniel Osborne, manager of safer communities, said the council regularly reviewed “new opportunities for Casey’s dog owners” and that these played an “important role” in giving dogs and their owners a safe space.

“Our dog friendly spaces are created in line with Casey’s Open Space Strategy, encouraging residents and their dogs to exercise and socialise, while enjoying Casey’s parks and reserves,” he said.

“Any private run dog parks would need to comply with the relevant legislation and codes of practice in the same way as other Registered Domestic Animal Businesses, such as dog training establishments and puppy schools, doggy day care facilities and boarding kennels.”

Jake said he would not be giving up on his park plan.

He said he would be taking the proposal to politicians including premier Daniel Andrews – particularly in light of the State Government’s plan to roll out dozens of new dog parks across Victoria, with one opened this month at Casey Fields.

“It’s really spreading the word around that this is something we could do with,” Jake said.

For more information about canine anxiety, visit the Power Pooches website or find them on Facebook.