Editorial: Best to keep dogs on their leashes

Providing new spaces to let Rover roam free not a good idea

North Cowichan is just asking for trouble by adding three new off-leash areas for dogs in the municipality.

And any Vancouver Island municipality pushing to create more public spaces where Rover can can roam free, is, well, barking up the wrong tree.

There is really no good reason for doing this. There are dog parks in most communities where people can let their dogs loose if they wish.

But these public spaces are a different story. The potential for a clash between people with dogs and those without is likely.

In this particular instance, foreshore areas in Crofton Beach Park and Chemainus are the new additions. Just how dogs behave when given the chance to run free is unpredictable at best.

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Most dog owners will immediately say their little canine is friendly and no one needs to worry when he or she approaches them. But, friendly or not, that demeanour can change at a moment’s notice depending on the situation, usually in the presence of another dog or a human who it might see as threatening for some reason.

There have been several incidents with dogs attacking other dogs or biting people along public trail systems. All dogs are supposed to be leashed on many of these trails, but owners frequently take it upon themselves to let them loose because, well, they won’t hurt anyone.

No one call tell what might happen when another dog comes along that also isn’t leashed and they can easily lash out at each other.

There have been occasional Facebook posts of dog owners accusing others of not controlling their dogs and causing injuries to other dogs or people and asking those owners to come clean and accept responsibility. Few ever admit to being responsible and face possible liability.

The other problem with North Cowichan’s plan is it doesn’t include the summer months from June 16 to Sept. 30 so everything reverts back to the way it was during those times. Who’s going to keep track of this and enforce those who don’t put their dogs back on leashes in those spots then?

The bottom line is dogs need to be controlled. This sudden desire in society to let dogs run all over the place is wrong, unless you have a large acreage property, then feel free.

In public, keeping dogs on leashes all the time is the best policy.

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