Some Saskatoon dog owners want rules prohibiting toys in dog parks.

A handmade sign reading “Keep your balls at home please” hangs outside the entrance of Sutherland Beach Dog Park. The message is supported by a handful of dog owners, including Hannah Neufeld, who are blaming toys for instigating dog fights.

Neufeld’s young black lab, King, was caught in the middle of a dog fight.

“The dog got a little bit too alpha male-ish and decided to take King down and gave him a few bites,” Neufeld said. “When I got home, I found out he was bleeding.”

Neufeld says dogs’ aggression can be triggered by possession over their toys.

Toys “just enhance the competitive nature that is already within dogs, so I’d say leave your toys at home.”

The city does not have a bylaw banning toys inside dog parks. However, there are bylaws for off-leash zones.

If owners do not comply with certain animal control bylaws, $100 fines are issued on the first offence and $300 on the third offence.

Here are a few bylaws you may not be aware of: 

Stay close to your dog

Owners with dogs off their leash must be in close enough proximity that the dog can hear and see commands. If you are too far away from your dog, and your dog becomes aggressive to another dog or person, you could be breaking a Saskatoon city bylaw.

Always carry a leash

Even in an off-leash zone, owners must still carry a leash.

Keep aggressive dogs on leash

Dogs with past experiences of aggressive behaviour to other dogs or people must be on a leash at all times.

Stay in the right zone

Letting your dog run free is allowed only in the off-leash areas. If your dog runs from an off-leash zone into a leashed zone, you could face a fine.