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Transportation & Environment Services

Dogs in City of Saint John Parks and Green Spaces

Keep our parks fun for everyone

City of Saint John staff are committed to promoting a safe, harmonious environment for all Park users including people, pets, and wildlife. 

Managing dogs by keeping them leashed, unless within a designated off leash area, is essential to achieving this objective.

The City of Saint John’s dog incident prevention efforts are focused primarily on providing individuals with education through signage, public seminars, as well as maintaining designated off leash dog parks for those interested in having an area to allow dogs to socialize.

Why is it important to keep your dog on a leash?

Not everyone who uses City Parks are comfortable with dogs, and many are very fearful of them. Leashed dogs can be perceived as a threat by unleashed dogs, potentially creating an aggressive confrontation.

Our parks are home to many wildlife species who do not recognize the difference between a friendly ‘chasing’ and a predatory threat. This can create unnecessary stress and even death to park wildlife.

It is more difficult to ‘poop and scoop’ when dogs are off leash and running free. This gives all dog owners a bad name and fuels arguments from those that would like to see dogs banned from our parks.

Being a responsible pet owner is the best means of promoting the many benefits to having a dog, while at the same time allowing others to enjoy the park as well.


What We do

Educational seminars

Seminars are held at the Interpretation Centre on a variety of Park topics including understanding dog behavior, proper trail etiquette, and how to prevent aggressive altercations. Seminars are well attended, and are free to the public. For more information on the next upcoming seminar please check our website, find us on Facebook, or contact the Rockwood Park Interpretation Centre at 506-658-2883 or by email at Rockwood.park@saintjohn.ca.

Off leash "Bark Parks"

  • Rockwood Park is home to a fenced in leash free area, known as the Bark Park, located at the Fisher Lakes/Hawthorne Street entrance to the Park. It is open all year long, however parking and vehicle access is restricted to April-December. It is open from dusk until dawn, seven days a week.
  • Rainbow Park is also home to a Bark Park and can be accessed 24 hours a day, year round.
  • Chown Field is home, South Central Peninsula, open year round
  • Little River Reservoir, East Saint John, open year round

For more information about the Bark Parks, call 658-2908 or email parks@saintjohn.ca

Record Keeping -- complaints and recurrent offenders

City of Saint John Parks staff compiles a record of all dogs off leash complaints and communicates them to the proper authorities.


Signage is posted in both provincial official languages, and often with pictograms for the reading impaired.

Provincial / City By-law

Occasionally, citizens do not respect park policies and the City by-law to keep dogs leashed. Enforcement and regulation of this by-law falls under the provincial Municipalities Act. 

To read the by-law click City of Saint John By-law respecting the Control of Dogs or visit www.gnb.ca

Under the Municipalities act a person who violates any provision of a by-law is committing an offense that is liable on conviction to a fine in provincial court. The City of Saint John has entered into a contract agreement with the SPCAAR (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals/Animal Rescue) as dog control contractors.

Dog Control/SPCAAR

The City of Saint John has entered into a service agreement with the Saint John SPCAAR to respond to, as well as track, any complaints concerning a full spectrum of dog control provisions, including running at large, bites or attempted bites, barking, “poop and scoop’ violations, licensing, and diseased/injured animals.

They can be contacted during regular hours of 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday to Friday and 9:00 am to 5:00pm Saturday and Sunday at 1-506-633-1228.


The Saint John City Police should be contacted if a person has been bitten by a dog, there is an altercation with dog owners, or to file a complaint or press charges against an unlawful individual. They can be contacted at 1-506-648-3333.