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Four views on off-leash dogs, parks, trails and bike riders
Re. “Keep your dogs on leash on Coquitlam River trail” (Letters, The Tri-City News, May 30).
Dog leash bylaws are like speed limits in that strict enforcement would probably result in the majority of people getting tickets.
Safety is the number one concern. It is safer to control your dog around others just as it is safer to drive near the same speed as traffic flow.
I both walk my dog and ride my bike on local trails. Even if my dog is on leash, I still like a little warning from cyclists. And when I ride, I slow down for other trail users.
You can’t legislate common sense.
As a Coquitlam resident of more than 55 years, I have grown up walking dogs in Mundy Park as well as along the Coquitlam River. We frequently walked through Mundy Park long before trails and bylaws. As Coquitlam grew so did the need for bylaws regarding horses, dogs and bicycles.
I find it offensive that bike riders have such a frequent intolerance to dogs, especially on the Coquitlam River trails. I own a border collie rescue dog and I exercise it along the river as well as designated off-leash parks. I am a responsible dog owner who occasionally uses the river trail to run my “friendly” dog off-leash to exercise it.
Fast-moving bike riders taking the blind corners are seriously risking the walkers, leashed dog walkers, children, small kids on bikes and handicapped individuals who frequent this beautiful trail.
I ask dog owners, bicycle riders and the public in general exercise tolerance and common sense.
Recently, I noticed a handmade sign stating “Bikes use caution” and I appreciated this notice. But I also felt the need to also want to state “Shared Trail, Use Caution.”
Lori Partington, Coquitlam
FEAR OF DOGS
I am one of those people who, unfortunately, is afraid of dogs. Cannot help it. Since childhood, I have lived with this tension in my stomach whenever a strange dog approached me, no matter the size.
I am a passionate hiker, too, and I must say that lately, I cannot find a trail to hike on without the fear of having a strange dog coming at me.
About a month ago, I was attacked by a small dog on a trail. No reason, no provocation, the dog just didn’t like me. The owners tried to call it off but the dog ignored them and jumped on me again and bit me.
I would like to take this opportunity to ask dog owners to be considerate. Please realize that the fact you love your dog doesn’t mean everyone does. The fact that you know your dog is friendly doesn’t mean everyone does. Be considerate and allow all people to enjoy nature without being afraid of being attacked.
It is not only a courtesy, it is a law.
I, too, have had many a run-in with off-leash dogs during my walks around Port Coquitlam. I would estimate, conservatively, that at least 70% of the dogs I see along the Pitt River dike are off leash — the same for local parks.
May I suggest to PoCo city council two ideas:
One, please give fines to dog owners who do not obey the rules. People simply sniff at warnings with arrogance. The only rules people will follow are ones with a monetary penalty attached.
Two, all dog owners should pay an extra premium on their property taxes every year of around 1% to 2% to help pay for more animal control services and because non-dog owners do not get to enjoy the full array of parks in the city because of all these selfish dog owners.
Would it be acceptable to walk around the city with a loaded gun in your hand? And when people stare in horror, you could just say, “Don’t worry, it doesn’t go off.”
If you cannot care for a dog properly, you should not have one. If you want your dog off-leash, buy a house with a large, enclosed yard or buy a farm.
By the way, did you know that dogs are pack animals? They must be lead or they will lead. It is, therefore, not cruel or mean to keep a dog on its leash while it is off your property. It is what the dog needs. An off-leash dogs is a danger to itself and to others.
Why an arrogant selfish attitude towards a major responsibility has become the norm in our society, I will never figure out. Please, let’s try to respect one another’s rights.