Côte St. Luc council passed a bylaw regarding dogs which, amongst other aspects, now allows owners to walk their dogs on leashes in most parks.

Councillor Mike Cohen, in charge of the animal protection portfolio on council, proposed the bylaw.

"The new bylaw requires that dogs must be on a leash and held at all time and owners must pick up their dog's droppings or face fines," Cohen explained. "Dogs are now allowed in certain parks with the following provisions: they cannot be within nine meters of a playground or splash pad nor on the premises of a public pool, wading pool or on any sports field or in Veteran's Park."

ttaion that preceded the regular council meeting. Councillor RuthThe parks where dogs are allowed as of this week include Aaron Hart, Harold Greenspon, Aumont, Rembrandt, Marc Chagall, Ashkelon Gardens, Irving Singerman, Prud'homme, Silverson, Richard Schwartz, Fletcher, Yitzhak Rabin, Kirwan, Emerald, Trudeau, Ruth Kovac,  Imagination, Mitchell Brownstein, Arthur Zygielbaum, Eric Helfield, Fyon and Nathan Shuster.

The bylaw was passed 7-1 following a public consultation that preceded the regular council meeting. Councillor Ruth Kovac voted against.

She praised the work put in o the "comprehensive" bylaw.

"But there are still a few things in here I'm not comfortable with," she said. "I'm not sure about the nine metres, I'm not convinced that all the dog owners — whether most are responsible or not — will actually do the cleaning up. I'm often a victim of people who just don't care and leave everything lying around, and throw it into my recycling bin and not even the composting bin."

She also expressed concern about possible residue from dog droppings where children play.

"And somebody raised the issue about enforcing bylaws," Kovac added. "We have tons of bylaws that don't get enforced well. This is going to be one of the tougher ones."

Councillor Steven Erdelyi said he is also concerned about the nine-metre proximity to playgrounds.

"The reality is children are running around, many are running barefoot, and no disrespect to dog owners, but no one knows exactly what nine metres is, and some might encroach on that distance," he said. "After much reflection, I will be voting for the bylaw. But I will reserve judgment — I hope dog owners will comply."

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