Dog attack concerns

Dog attack concerns

A dog exercise area is at the centre of a dispute between members of the Ranford Primary School community and the City of Canning. Photograph - Toby Hussey.

A Canning Vale primary school parent said she thought a recent decision by the City of Canning council to permit off-leash dog exercise at a park next to the school’s oval was ludicrous.

  • The City of Canning has approved Connaught Park as an off-leash dog exercise area
  • Connaught Park is connected to Ranford Oval, which Ranford Primary School uses for physical education classes
  • Parents said they were concerned their children were now at greater risk of being involved in a dog attack

Gillian Ravlic is on the Ranford Primary School board as a community representative.

Ms Ravlic has two children at Ranford Primary School and said parents and school staff were shocked the council approved Connaught Park for off-leash dog exercise at its September 19 meeting given its proximity to a primary school.

“Our school community is pretty astounded the council would come to this decision,” she said.

“We can’t believe it.”

Connaught Park runs adjacent to Ranford Oval, which is used by the school for physical education lessons, and Ms Ravlic said allowing off-leash dog exercise near the area would pose a danger to children playing on the oval.

“You’ve got kids on the oval playing sport, playing with balls – things that are of interest to dogs,” she said.

“We’re concerned a child will be attacked.”

At the meeting council made the decision to approve three parks in Canning Vale to allow off-leash dog exercise areas after a lengthy trial period of parks in the region.

Four parks were rejected for various reasons including size and complaints from nearby residents, but Connaught Park, Akania Park and Kinnerton Gardens received the green light.

The proposal for Connaught Park passed narrowly, six votes to five; councillors David Brown, Patrick Hall, Ben Kunze, Ayse Martli, Tim Porter and Pauline Tarrant were in favour.

The change meant Canning Vale, which has nearly 700 registered dogs but had only one off-leash dog exercise park, now has four.

The council supported installing fencing at Connaught Park to separate it from Ranford Oval, but it will not enclose the dog exercise area.

Councillor Patrick Hall raised the motion at the council meeting and said Ranford Primary School would not be the first school in the area to be next to a dog exercise area.

“There are many examples of schools and dog off-lead areas being located in close proximity to each other,” he said.

“Prendwick Reserve in Willetton is a wonderful example of a dog off-lead area that has co-existed alongside Rostrata Primary School for decades without incident and this situation with Ranford Primary School is no different.

“Dogs must still be under the control of their owners whilst off-lead.

“I am confident that the additional controls which will be put in place by the city – including fencing and signage – will ensure that the initiative is a success.”

“The city owes residents the same consideration and recreational amenity that it provides in other suburbs.”

“The decision to approve Connaught Park as a dog off-lead area – which was recommended by the city, was carefully considered by the council, and followed a six-month trial and considerable public consultation is the right decision.”