Why isn’t there so much space to walk your dog in Lyon?

[Série 5/5] Free spaces where dogs can stretch their legs are rare in Lyon. From “canicides” to “free dog zones”, where can you walk your dog without being verbal?

Good question, dog owners tell us. If the size of a city like Lyon makes it possible to take long walks on a leash on the sidewalks, where can you let your dog really stretch their legs?

In most green spaces, dogs must be kept on a leash or prohibited altogether. Often they are allowed to free themselves in small fenced areas that are not enough for their expenditure.

“Lyon, the city’s female dog? »

After our series “Animals and the city in Lyon” on wild, threatened or harmful animals that share our daily lives in Lyon, Rue89Lyon examines living with the much more common animals, dogs. Walking with your dog, finding a place where he can stretch his legs, training him… Many obstacles await the owners of the 130,000 dogs listed in the Lyon metropolis.

With the arrival of ecologists in the City and Metropolis of Lyon, many dog ​​owners are hoping for significant advances in the place for their furry dogs in Lyon. What do you say?

“Lyon, the city’s female dog? », a series of five episodes:

“What they call ‘dog parks’ are disgusting things that have never been cleaned”

Founded in January 2020 by a former journalist from Lyon, “Canine Well-being in Lyon” or Bicalyon has been campaigning since January 2020 for dogs to be better integrated into the city. As part of this, the owners began listing on a map the different areas in the metropolis of Lyon where dogs are allowed or prohibited. In the city itself, a dozen parks where dogs can go for a walk on a leash are listed, as well as about twenty parks where masters take their dogs to stretch their legs, with or without permission.

It’s certainly not an exhaustive list, but no similar official card currently exists in Lyon.

The metropolis of Lyon distinguishes between two types of areas reserved for dogs: free dog areas and sanitary areas.

The first are rather large fenced areas on the ground or covered with sparse grass. A stone’s throw from Place Bellecour, for example, a sycamore strip sandwiched between the funnel and Place Antonin Poncet fulfills this function. So you can only throw the ball to your dog in a straight line, with the soft sound of cars passing under the funnel in the background.

In Parilly, Bron has a larger dog park equipped with equipment to introduce your dog to agility (dog sport). Due to the high demand, it is very difficult for you to benefit your dog.

The dog park was recently established in Gerland, Lyon 7. This “dog free area” can accommodate up to 10 dogs. ©OM/Rue89Lyon

For seconds everything is in the name. These are true “sanitary” places for dogs: small, fenced areas of earth or sand where they can poop without their owners needing to pick up the mess. Imagine an open-air public dry toilet where feces accumulate for several days. These devices, which are expensive to maintain, are no longer popular.

“We’re no longer in the mentality of small sharks, which are often very fragrant and very difficult to care for,” said Nicolas Husson, Lyon’s deputy mayor for biodiversity, nature and animal protection in the city. We believe that the welfare of animals needs larger spaces so that the animal can also exercise and socialize with other dogs, in areas of freedom dedicated to them.

Tiphaine, owner of 9-year-old Australian Shepherd Isko, says:

“I avoid going there. The things they call “dog parks” are actually little things for dogs’ needs. They’re disgusting things that are never cleaned. »

Dogs illegally released in parks

That’s why Tiphaine and her friend don’t hesitate to get in their car to take their dogs for a walk on the outskirts of Lyon, the Bois de Serres in Ecully, Vernaison and even the great park of Miribel-Jonage.

Several dog owners have released them at some public parks in Lyon, hoping they don’t get caught for daily walks. Victor and Marie, in their twenties, regularly run and play with their young dog Occi in Gerland Park. They often encounter Sky, a ten-year-old border collie accompanied by his master Martin. It is out of the question for him to put a leash on his dog.

“I adopted Sky at SPA 7 years ago,” the young man says. Since I couldn’t take public transport with him, I immediately taught him to be off-leash. I didn’t have a car back then. If you have to carry luggage or groceries and keep the dog on a leash, that’s too much.

Walking him off leash also makes him challenge himself physically and intellectually. Not enough space and too many dogs in dog parks create tension. Otherwise you have to go to the other end of Lyon. »

lion dog
Martin often takes his dog Sky for a walk in Lyon 8th Parc de Parilly. ©OM/Rue89Lyon

In Lyon, owners are organizing new areas where they can walk their dogs

Ahead of the 2020 metropolitan and municipal elections, Bicalyon had offered candidates a deal for a better place for the dog in the city. The elected ecologists, Grégory Doucet, the current mayor of Lyon, and Bruno Bernard, the current president of the Lyon Metropolis, had agreed to sign this charter.

A few weeks after taking power, the Metropolis of Lyon launched an animal mission to consider a guiding policy for pets on its territory. In this context, the Bicalyon collective was asked by Métropole to give its opinion on the question.

Dog owners have given a lot of advice on dogs’ access to public transport, particularly in Lyon (TCL), and they have proposed several ways to improve coexistence between dogs and humans in the Lyon metropolitan area. Here are some examples:

– Make certain squares and neighborhood gardens accessible to citizens, accompanied by their dogs, on a continuous or intermittent basis, depending on the season of the year.
– Provide at least one dog recreation area in each commune of the Lyon Metropolis, each district of the City of Lyon under the joint management of the “City – Masters” to empower the Masters.
– Provide generous dog space to all major parks in the Lyon metropolitan area. »

Established in 2017, the association “Les truffles de Montluc” has also addressed the issue of the lack of dog spaces, starting with the Fort de Montluc park, which has been converted into a “shared space” with many apparatuses to practice agility with your dog. dog.

Last year, the association, which became the collective “Les Truffles de Lyon”, launched a petition specifically to ask the 7th district’s town hall to review the small dog area established in 2014 in Blandan park. and “not safe for dogs and other park users,” according to the petition.

Will there be dog parks in the buildings soon?

Pierre Athanaze, vice president for animal welfare in Lyon Metropolis, assures that the “Assises de la Condition Anonyme” will take place soon to discuss the place of pets in the city. These areas where residents can leave their dogs will have a specific question.

“We must create more and better,” he admits. Once upon a time, he had health problems. The concept needs to be revised. As dogs in the town are often lacking in physical activity, a lot of work is being done with town halls to develop equipment in these areas. Public space is limited by the presence of bikes, cars, markets… We are also considering condominiums and social hosts who can provide dog areas in some large complexes. »

For the City of Lyon, “the health of dogs is closely linked to the health of Lyonnaises and Lyonnaiss”. Deputy Mayor Nicolas Husson believes that one of the ways to improve the living conditions of dogs in the city is to green the roads:

“Providing a greener city that is closer to the inhabitants is also beneficial for the dog during walks. Cool, shaded trails with lighter and less hot floors in the summer contribute to the dog’s health and offer better conditions for their airways and paws, he improves.

It is also beneficial for our dogs who will have water to hydrate themselves during the summer months when we set up a fair network of water points for Lyonnaises and Lyonnais. »

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