A Toronto city councillor wants to expand off-leash hours for dogs to all city parks, believing it makes for happier dogs and fewer attacks on people and other animals.

Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong is asking for a study to determine whether it would make sense to set aside certain times for dogs to roam free in all 1,400 parks between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m.

He says though the city has 54 designated off-leash areas, they’re not within walking distance for many owners and some simply let their dogs loose in parks.

He cites New York City, which adopted off-leash hours and had a 63 per cent drop in dog bites between 1993 and 2005.

“The benefits of off-leash exercise for dogs are numerous and help contribute to well-rounded, socialized and obedient dogs,” Minnan-Wong said. “Dogs who are walked off-leash on a regular basis have been shown to be more social, less aggressive, bark less, tend to have far less neurotic behavior and bite less than dogs who get no off-leash exercise.”

A parks and environment committee will consider the request on Nov. 9.

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