A proposal to ban dogs from Yukon schools is worrying many local trainers and other enthusiasts.
Groups such as the Whitehorse Woofers Dog Club use school gyms for competitions, training, and seminars.
“When I went to book our annual April trial, I was told that it could be a problem,” said Whitehorse Woofer Nancy Brady.
“When I went back to hand in the paperwork, they said we wouldn’t be allowed in the school.”
Brady was told that on November 30 a new policy would be put in place banning pooches from Yukon schools.
The Education department has since agreed to extend the date to the end of January, said Education spokesperson Clea Roberts.
This will help the group make the transition.
The department has not said why it is banning the dogs from schools.
Brady suspects that it might have something to do with the recent legal issues involving the drug dog at Porter Creek high school.
It is not because the dogs have been leaving a mess.
The group uses its own cleaning equipment and supplies after each show and prides itself on leaving the gyms immaculately clean, said Brady.
“Very often I think they’re getting the better of the deal because when we leave it’s way cleaner.”
Dog clubs have been using the schools for their events since 1995.
“We’ve been using Hidden Valley elementary school in particular because it is a space that’s big enough,” said Brady.
“When you do dog trials, obedience trials and rally obedience trials there are rules — the ring for competitive trials has to be 35 by 40 feet.
“That’s why the Takhini mezzanine is not suitable,” she added.
The Takhini mezzanine is the only space now available to the group.
However along with problems of size, the space is also too costly for the non-profit, said Brady.
The Woofers participate in United Kennel Club events, in which mixed-breed dogs are allowed to participate.
The Yukon Kennel Club also holds a large event each June at Mt. McIntyre recreation centre, but for purebred dogs only.
“There’s no way we can afford to put on our events in Mt. McIntyre,” said Brady.
“And even if they could afford the space, it wouldn’t be of much use without space for training.”
The Woofers club organizes two obedience trials a year, a rally obedience trial and seminars.
But not all of the events are competitive.
The club also has a mandate to educate the public and puts on basic and puppy obedience courses.
“Those classes are for fun and to teach people how to look after their dogs,” said Brady.
“To have a pet that is well mannered is better for the community.”
The club welcomes suggestions or possible collaborations to help find a solution to their problem.
Brady has been talking with the Yukon Horse and Rider Association but says that they’re lacking available space as well.
“It’s not just the Whitehorse Woofers. There are other dog clubs in the city that will be affected,” said Brady.
“Although we hold and put on the trials, the other clubs have members that come to those trials.
“So it affects a fair number of people and it’s very unfortunate.”