Off Leash Parks and Public Health

Off Leash Parks and Public Health - Completed

With funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the off-leash parks study was designed to use both quantitative and qualitative measures to assess the impact of pet-related policies in combination with off-leash designations on social activity, physical activity and infectious disease exposure. This three-year study of four Calgary parks explores how pet-related policies and off-leash designations may affect population health in urban areas. The ultimate goal of this project is to provide useful information to decision-makers, in order to help people realize the health benefits of owning a pet while respecting the needs and safety concerns of the entire community.

Relevant publications:

Rock, M. J., Degeling, C., Graham, T. M., Toohey, A. M., Rault, D., & McCormack, G. R. (2016). Public engagement and community participation in governing urban parks: a case study in changing and implementing a policy addressing off-leash dogs. Critical Public Health, 1-14.

Rock, M. J., Graham, T. M., Massolo, A., & McCormack, G. R. (2016). Dog-walking, dog-fouling and leashing policies in urban parks: Insights from a natural experiment designed as a longitudinal multiple-case study. Landscape and Urban Planning, 153, 40-50.

McCormack, G. R., Graham, T. M., Swanson, K., Massolo, A., & Rock, M. J. (2016 - In Press). Changes in visitor profiles and activity patterns following dog supportive modifications to parks: A natural experiment on the health impact of an urban policy. SSM-Population Health.

Toohey, A. M., & Rock, M. J. (2015). Newspaper Portrayals, Local Policies, and Dog-Supportive Public Space: Who’s Wagging Whom? Anthrozoös, 28(4), 549–567.

Rock, M. J., Adams, C. L., Degeling, C., Massolo, A., & McCormack, G. R. (2014). Policies on pets for healthy cities: a conceptual framework. Health Promotion International, dau017.

McCormack, G. R., Rock, M., Swanson, K., Burton, L., & Massolo, A. (2014). Physical activity patterns in urban neighbourhood parks: insights from a multiple case study. BMC Public Health14(1), 962.

Degeling, C., & Rock, M. (2012). ‘It was not just a walking experience’: reflections on the role of care in dog-walking. Health Promotion International, das024.

McCormack, G. R., Rock, M., Sandalack, B., & Uribe, F. A. (2011). Access to off-leash parks, street pattern and dog walking among adults. Public Health125(8), 540-546.

Key research personnel:
  
Gavin McCormack (co-PI)
Melanie Rock (co-PI)
Taryn Graham (PhD student and research assistant)
Dawn Rault (PhD student)
Ann Toohey (PhD student)
Kenda Swanson (MSc student and research assistant)
Lindsay Burton (MSc student and research assistant)
Ale Massolo (collaborator)
Christopher Degeling (collaborator)