Why Lyon lacks so many places to walk your dog

[Série 5/5] In Lyon, free spaces where dogs can stretch their legs are rare. From “canisites” to “free dog areas”, where can you walk your dog without being verbalized?

Good question, dog owners say. If the size of a city like Lyon makes it possible to walk long distances, on a leash on the sidewalks, then where can you allow your dog to stretch his legs?

In most green areas, dogs must be kept on a leash or are completely forbidden. Often it is allowed to let them loose in small fenced spaces that are not enough for them to use themselves.

“Lyon, city dog?”

Following our series “Animals and the City of Lyon” about wild, endangered or harmful animals that share our daily lives in Lyon, Rue89Lyon looks at coexistence with much more common animals: dogs. Getting around with your dog, finding a place where he can stretch his legs, train him … So many obstacles await the owners of about 130,000 dogs listed in the metropolis of Lyon.

With the arrival of ecologists to the city and metropolis of Lyon, many dog ​​owners are hoping for significant progress in terms of the place given to their hairy dogs in Lyon. What about?

“Lyon, city dog?”, A series of five episodes:

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

Founded in January 2020 by a former Lyon journalist, “Canine Well-Being in Lyon” or Bicalyon, has been fighting since January 2020 for dogs to become better integrated into the city. The owners who are part of it have started listing the various places that are allowed or forbidden for dogs on a map, in the metropolis of Lyon. In the city itself, a dozen parks have been built, where dogs can go for a walk, on a leash, as well as about twenty others, where the masters take their doggies with them to stretch their legs, whether it is allowed or not.

A list that is certainly not exhaustive, but there is no officially similar map in Lyon at the moment.

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 spaces, in the ground or covered with sparse grass. A stone’s throw from Place Bellecour, for example, a strip of plane trees wedged between the funnel and Place Antonin Poncet fulfills this function. You can thus throw the ball to your dog, only in a straight line, with the soft sound of cars passing under the funnel in the background.

In Parilly, in the Bron, there is a larger dog park, equipped with equipment to introduce your dog to agility (dog sports). Due to the high demand, it is very difficult to be able to benefit his dog.

“We are no longer in a logic of small rabbits that are often very fragrant and very difficult to maintain,” confirms Nicolas Husson, deputy mayor of Lyon in charge of biodiversity, city nature and animal protection. For the sake of animal welfare, we believe that there is a need for larger spaces so that the animal can also exercise and socialize with other dogs, in freedom spaces dedicated to them … “

Tiphaine, owner of Isko, a 9-year-old Australian Shepherd dog, has his opinion:

“I avoid going there. What they call ‘dog parks’ are actually little things for dogs’ needs. Disgusting things that are never cleaned up.”

Dogs illegally released in public parks

Tiphaine and her companion therefore do not hesitate to take their car to take their dog for a walk on the outskirts of Lyon, in the Bois de Serres in Ecully, in Vernaison or even in the large park Miribel-Jonage.

For daily walks in Lyon, several dog owners release them in certain public parks in hopes of not being caught. Victor and Marie, in their twenties, run and play regularly with their young dog Occi in Gerland Park. They often encounter Sky, a ten-year-old border collie accompanied by his master, Martin. For him, there is no question of putting his dog on a leash.

“I adopted Sky at the SPA 7 years ago,” says the young man. “I taught him to be on a leash right away because I could not take public transportation with him. I did not have a car at the time. If you have to carry your luggage or shopping and keeping the dog on a leash, it’s a lot.

Walking him without a leash also allows him to exert himself physically and intellectually. In dog parks there is not enough space and too many dogs, which creates tension. Or go to the other end of Lyon. »

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

In Lyon, owners organize themselves for new places to go for walks with their dogs

Ahead of the capital and local elections in 2020, Bicalyon had presented the candidates with an agreement on a better place for the dog in the city. The elected environmentalists Grégory Doucet, current mayor of Lyon, and Bruno Bernard, current president of Lyon Metropolis, had agreed to sign this charter.

A few weeks after coming to power, the Metropolis of Lyon launched an animal mission to reflect on a guiding policy for pets in its territory. In this context, the Bicalyon collective was asked by the Métropole to make its views known on the issue.

Dog owners made many recommendations, in particular on the issue of access for dogs to public transport in Lyon (TCL), and suggested several ways to improve the coexistence of dogs and humans in the metropolis of Lyon. Here are some examples:

Make certain public squares and neighborhood gardens accessible to citizens accompanied by their dog, either permanently or for periods of time, depending on the season.
– Provide each municipality in Lyon Metropolis, each district of the city of Lyon, with at least one dog ball room in the “City – Masters” co-management to strengthen the champions.
– Give all the large parks in Lyon’s metropolitan area a generous dog area. »

The association “Les truffles de Montluc” was established in 2017 and has also raised the issue of the lack of dog places, starting with Fort de Montluc Park, which has been transformed into a “shared space” with many devices for training agility with your dog .

Last year, the association, which became the collective “Les Truffles de Lyon”, in particular launched a petition to ask the town hall in the 7th arrondissement to review the small dog kennel set up in 2014 in Blandan Park in a “regrettable state” “. and “unsafe for dogs and other park users” according to the petition.

Soon dog parks in buildings?

Vice President in charge of animal protection in the Metropolis of Lyon, Pierre Athanaze assures that “Assises de la condition anonymous” will soon take place to discuss pet space in the city. There will be especially these rooms where the residents will be able to let go of their dogs.

“We need to create more and better,” he admits. At one point, there were health issues. The concept needs to be revised. There is a lot of work going on with the town halls to develop equipment in these spaces, because in the city dogs often lack physical activity. Public space is limited by the presence of bicycles, cars, markets … We are also thinking of condominiums and social landlords who could make dog areas available in certain large complexes. »

For the city of Lyon, the well-being of the dog is closely linked to the well-being of Lyonnaises and Lyonnais. Nicolas Husson, deputy mayor, believes that one of the ways to improve the living conditions of dogs in the city also involves greener roads:

“Giving a greener city, closer to the inhabitants, is also beneficial for the dog during walks. Cool, shady paths with lighter and less warm floors in the summer contribute to the dog’s well-being, and provide better conditions for its airways and paws, he develops.

When we install a fair network of water points for Lyonnaises and Lyonnais, it is also beneficial for our dogs in the summer who want water to hydrate themselves. »

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