Tuesday, April 5, 2011


On the weekend we walked over to Taylor Creek Park, part of the Don Valley Parks System maintained by the city of Toronto.  The weather was glorious and we brought toast, muffins and soy milk to snack on as we wandered the trails.

As we crossed the first footbridge into the park we met up with a woman walking her large dog off-leash.  As my children hid behind me, Partner-Guy politely asked her to leash her dog--as everybody knows you have to leash your dog unless you're in a dog park, right?  She got right in Partner-Guy's face and said, "You've got a bad attitude!  I said the dog's friendly!"  He was quite taken aback by this.  Calmly he said, "That's what every dog owner says before the dog tears a child's face off.  My kids are scared of your dog.  Get it on a leash."

She refused, told him he was full of B-S and walked off.  When she got about 100 feet away she yelled over her shoulder, "HEY, GET A VASECTOMY!"


I was unaware that there was going to be such open hostility toward us simply because we have 4 children.  Now, obviously this woman (who clearly has a HUGE chip on her shoulder about SOMETHING) does not represent all dog-owners, Torontonians or even females in big red coats.  But good grief!  What a thing to say!

We spent about 2 hours in the valley and I estimated that at least half of all dogs that we encountered were off-leash.  This greatly lessened out enjoyment of our outing.  I have since sent the following email to the mayor of our city:

Dear Mayor Ford,
You may remember me as the voter who invited you to have dinner with my family after you were elected. 

I am writing now to ask for your help regarding the number of dogs which are routinely off-leash in Taylor Creek Park, posing a risk to my young children and preventing us from enjoying one of Toronto's fine outdoor areas.  The dog-owners that we have approached to leash their dogs are not at all willing to do so.

Could  you please enforce the bylaw that requires that dogs be leashed?

Thankyou on behalf of my children:  Anna, Holly, Jasmine and Julian

Patricia Tinholt
I have not yet received a response, but I am pretty confident that I will.  (When I invited Mayor Ford for dinner after the election I told him that "we didn't vote for him, but we wanted to get to know him better which might make us like him."  He called me personally to decline--saying that he'd have to bring his entire entourage--and of course he said that I should contact him anytime if there was ever anything he could do for me.)  Well, we'll see.

To say that I am not a dog-person is a gross understatement.  I'd really like to enjoy Toronto's parks with my children but I am not interested in fending off the dogs and dog-owners. 

Any suggestions?

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