More dog parks could reduce the number of dog bite incidents in Greater Victoria, including in Sooke, where a new dog park will open in 2022, according to the Capital Regional District.
The Capital Regional District is contracted to provide animal control services for eight municipalities and the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area.
So far in 2021, Sooke is the third-highest among areas the CRD covers in the number of dog bite incidents, with 13, although it is not far ahead of Central Saanich (12) and Colwood View Royal with 10 each.
Sooke was the highest for dog bite incidents in the first half of 2018, according to Shawn Carby, the CRD’s senior manager for protective services, but was surpassed by year’s end by Langford.
Carby said a couple of community changes could have influenced numbers to go up and then down.
“People were able to acquire dogs much easier and less expensively with the multiple rescues that have formed the years leading up to 2018, more dogs are brought into the CRD from these rescues from out of the CRD area, and therefore the number of dogs and issues increase,” Carby said in an email.
But he added more dog parks that have started to pop up throughout the region since then could help minimize dog bite incidents.
“Since 2018, there have also been more fenced dog parks established and areas where people can exercise their dog in a controlled setting. Dogs can be free to roam in a fenced area, and it is such a useful tool for socializing and training a new pup,” he said.
Sooke council approved the community’s first dog park at Pond’s Park Corridor in July. It was a controversial development among residents in the area – council had been discussing where to put a dog park for more than a decade, with John Phillips Memorial Park and Whiffin Spit Park also considered.
The CRD is working with the District of Sooke to develop rules for the park, said Carby.
“We want these parks to work, and there be areas where dog owners can go to exercise their pets so that people can enjoy other parks without being disturbed by a dog, not under effective control,” he said.