Dog Friendly City

We’re building a framework that will guide our decisions over the next ten years to create safe and active spaces for people and dogs and improve dog facilities and services.

Why Do We Need a Plan for Dogs?

More and more households are bringing dogs into their families, and the number of dogs in the community is growing. As our community grows and changes, City spaces and services need to evolve too. 

The ‘Dog Friendly City’ framework will guide the planning, design and maintenance of spaces shared by people and dogs in the City. The action items within the framework will reflect current research, public concerns and priorities, and evolving best practices for urban dog management. 

Phase 1 – Creating a Framework

Phase 1 was the start of a process to build our ‘Dog Friendly City’ framework. In winter 2021, a consultant team including an animal behavior and welfare scientist was created to help us develop the first phase of the framework.

In February 2022, we reached out to the community through Let’s Talk, the City’s online engagement platform. We received over 1,300 survey submissions. Input from the public was used to help us understand existing challenges, successes and opportunities to develop solutions that best meet the needs of our community. 

Thank you to everyone who provided input during the first phase of engagement. Your feedback was incorporated into a Dog Friendly City: Phase 1 Action Items report which was endorsed by Council on June 20, 2022. Learn more in our What We Heard summary report.

Phase 2 – Creating a Comprehensive Plan

Phase 2 begins in the summer of 2022 and focuses on the implementation of the approved actions, an education campaign to promote responsible dog ownership, and continues interdepartmental work on becoming a ‘Dog Friendly City’. 

As we continue to develop the Dog Friendly City plan, the action items will guide our decisions for creating safe and active spaces for people and dogs in the City, and improving dog facilities and services.

Please visit the Let's Talk project page to learn more.

Dog Friendly City: Phase 1 Actions

Council endorsed the Dog Friendly City: Phase 1 Actions on June 20, 2022. 

The actions are the result of bringing together multiple sources of information including:

  • Analysis of existing City services, facilities, programs and policies 
  • An interdepartmental workshop and discussion with City staff
  • Community engagement with broad participation from the public 
  • On-site evaluations of dog amenities, streetscapes, and City parks with an animal behaviour and welfare scientist
  • A review of policies and initiatives from other jurisdictions, and current best practice research

Action Themes

The Dog Friendly City: Phase 1 Actions are summarized under the following four themes:

  • People covers the importance of communicating and educating the public on how people and dogs can share parks, trails, streets and open spaces. Under the two topics of expectations and involvement, the Action Items include signage, responsible dog ownership expectations, and public feedback opportunities. 
  • Management covers the City’s role in managing the safety of people and dogs in the City. Under the topics of regulations, enforcement, maintenance and mitigation, the Action Items cover major items including the bylaw, licensing compliance, ‘Education First’ approach, waste management, and the impact of dogs on wildlife and the environment. 
  • Planning covers how the City can best plan to meet the pressures of a growing urban dog population in the City, together with other municipalities and organizations. Under the topics of access and connectivity, the Action Items include providing new leash-optional areas, dog amenities on private property and contribute to a North Shore network of dog friendly spaces. 
  • Design covers the elements and features of dog amenities, including leash-optional areas, for the safety of both people and dogs. The Action Items cover major items including a leash-optional area typology, amenities and features, accessibility considerations, and dog friendly boulevard typologies.

Things to Know About Dogs in the Community

Dog Licensing

  • 2,125 dogs were licensed in the City in 2021.
  • If you own a dog in the City of North Vancouver you need to obtain a dog licence. This is a City bylaw (8113 C) and it provides protection for your pet. You can renew and apply for dog licences online with CityServe, our online service centre.
  • View our heat map of 2021 licenced dogs to see which neighbourhoods in the City most licensed dogs call home.   
  • Learn more on our Dog Licences & Renewals webpage.

Dog Waste Management

  • Between 2019 and 2021, we experienced an 82% increase in dog waste collected in our red bins.
  • 64 tonnes of dog waste was collected from our red bins in 2021. That’s equivalent to 16 orcas! 
  • There are over 40 Dog Waste Only red bins strategically located throughout the City. All bins are emptied weekly and taken to the wastewater treatment plant for safe disposal. Check out our map of red bins and get tips on how to responsibly dispose of your pet's waste on our Dog Waste Program webpage.

Dogs in City Parks

  • There are currently six leash optional dog areas in the City. That’s a total of 3.4 hectares and 2.4% of the total park area in the City (based on 144 hectares of total park areas).
  • In the last five years, we’ve gone from three off-leash dog areas in the City to six off-leash dog areas. That’s double the parks! Our goal is to support the needs of the changing local community, creating outdoor spaces that are enjoyed by all types of users and protect natural habitats our City. We’re creating neighbourhood dog parks that are smaller, but more walkable and accessible for the day-to-day dog life.
  • Learn more on our Dogs in City Parks webpage.
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