DOG owners are barking mad about a City of Ballarat plan to shift them from a large open area at Victoria Park to a smaller zone close to the Ballarat saleyards.
Members of the informal group, which congregates on a little-used cricket field near the south dam to allow their dogs to run and play without a leash, say the move is unnecessary and the proposed replacement area is unsuitable for unleashed dogs.
The group will meet with the City of Ballarat on Tuesday at 5pm to plead their case.
Lisa Bawdin said dog owners had brought their animals to play with other canines at the current site for 10 years. She said the size of the area and the fact it was not close to busy roads made it more suitable than the ground behind the mullock heap between Cedar Drive and Pine Avenue.
“All the dogs here are registered. They are all well behaved,” Ms Bawdin said.
“Behind the mullock heap there is no control, because it is so close to the road. It is also close to the saleyards and the pony club area, which are obviously not the right place to have dogs running free. .”
Pat McAninly and Jo Gardiner also bring their dogs to the park. Ms Gardiner estimated up to 100 dogs and their owners use the current location to allow their dogs to run free and interact with other dogs.
She said dog owners were happy to use a leash in other areas of Victoria Park, but dogs needed time off their leashes.
“Dogs are like children. They need some freedom to run,” she said.
“We bring our own bags for poop, so there is no harm being done.”
Ms McAninly said dog fights were rare because of the size of the current area, but that could change at the new location.
“We understand that council is trying to do the best for all ratepayers. We feel that Vic Park, as it currently is, is one of the few areas that our dogs can run and play unrestricted, without the worry of major traffic.”