By Jed Lanyon
A Healesville dog owner is pushing to see an enclosed dog park created in Healesville to allow her dog to roam freely without the risk of fleeing the area.
Jude Mathers said there are a few off-leash locations available to Healesville dog owners, but none that come with the safety of being fully enclosed.
This means Ms Mathers has to travel with her dog, Remi, to Coldstream to enjoy the safer confines of Margaret Lewis Reserve, but with Covid-19 restrictions in place that is no longer an option.
“If your dog doesn’t come back or like lots of dogs, who don’t have good recall, then it’s not safe,” she said.
“Dogs are happier when they’re exercised… Lots of people hang around and talk because the dogs are busy playing with one another at Coldstream and the people get to know each other.
“I think it’s a really nice place for local people to have a bit of social time, which is a bit precious in this current environment.”
Ms Mathers said she doesn’t feel safe letting Remi run around at the off-leash zones at Coronation Park or near Don Road due to the close proximity of the roads.
“She is a rescue dog who had had little training. Despite attending some classes before Covid hit, she gets over excited meeting other dogs on-lead. She also doesn’t have good recall.
“She comes back eventually but not straight away. And what if she doesn’t come back? She could pester other people and dogs or be hurt or killed by a car.”
Ms Mathers said the issue is further compounded by the inability for dog owners to enroll their canine friends into classes as Victoria comes in and out of lockdown.
“She’s not socialising the way she should be and when I go down the street, she can be a bit reactive and get excited… She just wants to play and is missing out on social skills.”