Why Some Are Calling For An Entry Fee For Off-Leash Dog Parks

Entry fees for dog parks? Some think it could help keep naughty owners out.

Reshni Ratman is a dog-owner living in Australia – and she’s calling for local politicians to introduce entry fees for dog parks to keep out bad dog owners.

Ratman thought of the idea of introducing an entry fee for off-leash dog parks after several bad run-ins with irresponsible pet owners in parks in her community.

“I think the free use of dog parks is no doubt being used and abused. It’s really quite sad that the behaviors of pet owners can turn an animal-loving community against each other,” she wrote in the online opinion section of Australia’s Daily Telegraph.

Her frustrations stem from dog owners allowing their small dogs into the unleashed area reserved for big dogs, and then complaining when the bigger dogs are more “playful and boisterous.”

Ratman and her boyfriend adopted a 12-week-old “staffy cross bull Arab” named Maple last year, and the dog has since grown into a large 35 kg pup. She argues that inattentive and irresponsible dog owners allow their much smaller dogs in to play with Maple and others of her size, and then become irritated when Maple, who Ratman describes as submissive and non-threatening, attempts to play.

Ratman and her dog, Maple


She says she has also received nasty comments from other dog owners about Maple’s size and appearance, despite the park being specifically reserved for large dogs.

Ratman also worries about small puppies being allowed to run free in the park, despite possibly being unvaccinated, posing a risk to her dogs and others.

“It’s an off-leash dog park for our pets to enjoy. Maybe the owners need to go back to puppy school.” She said.

Ratman also said she’s not the only dog owner in her community who has become frustrated with the situation.

“Considering other responsible dog owners have told me they avoid the park at certain times to avoid the bullying that takes place, something’s really gotta give.” She said.

Ratman believes an entry fee on parks might discourage the more careless owners to take their dogs elsewhere, and leave her and others with dogs like Maple to enjoy the local park.

However, many dog owners have responded, disagreeing with Ratman’s view.

“What a lot of rubbish.  What difference would charging make?  I take my small dog to the dog park all the time and have never had a problem,” said one woman only identified as Barbara in a comment on the post.

So far, no motion on the issue has been introduced before her local council.


  1. Reshni Ratman/Daily Telegraph 
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