Riley Meloche takes his best friend to the dog park in Regina three times a week, but this summer he’s noticed huge gaping cracks, creeping and splitting up the ground.
“There’s cracks everywhere out here,” Meloche said. “It makes it really hard to bring him out here because he might break his leg.”
“The reason why I take him to the dog park is so he can come out here and run around, so it’s really tough to prevent him from going into those cracks.”
It’s another byproduct of the drought. While many parks in the city are watered regularly, the dog park isn’t.
City of Regina’s director of parks and open space Ray Morgan said using the parks is at the owner’s risk.
“It’s up to the pet owner to be responsible for the pets. It’s always a good idea to walk over the grounds first and just get a good idea of how and what the conditions are,” Morgan said.
Veterinarian Dr. Davinder Bath hasn’t seen an increase in foot injuries from the cracks at the dog park, but he said the danger is real.
“They can break their nails sometimes. There might be soft tissue injuries, and in extreme cases there might be fractures if the foot gets stuck entirely,” Bath said.
“Broken nails are very painful, and [with] soft tissue injuries they will be limping for the next few days, and if there is a fracture, that is definitely very painful.”
Dr. Joseph Piwowar, associate dean of geography at the University of Regina, said there isn’t anything people can do to fill in these gaping cracks, except wait for Mother Nature to take its course.
“If we have a pretty good snow pack this winter, when it melts it will percolate into the ground, and the clay will begin to expand again and fill in, but it’s going to take more than one or two rain falls or a light dusting of snow,” Piwowar said.
Rain is in the forecast over the next few days, but only time will tell if it’s enough to fill in the cracks.
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