Thursday night myself, Sue and Yoshi joined KaptainK and Digger for a protest organized by Citizen Canine. See the CRD is changing the rules drastically for some of the parks that Yoshi and Digger currently get to enjoy sans leash. The new rules will force dog owners to leash their dogs, or face the fines.
There are numerous reasons why we do not support this. CRD claims that dogs are destroying the vegetation, are harming and fouling the shoreline, are causing too many conflicts with humans, and that the humans are not cleaning up after their dogs.
The way I see it is that the CRD has not provided any concrete evidence that the dogs are in fact ruining vegetation. This is a park located next to a large city. It sees a lot of traffic on hot days. It sees lots of humans year round. I am not going to say that dogs are not the culprit, because they may be doing part of it. I do disagree with placing the blame soley on dogs (and that is how it feels to me).
As for dogs harming and fouling the shoreline, again, I can only offer what I have seen, and that is the humans who visit the park are much more destructive than the dogs. Again, my eyes. Neither side of this argument has provided concrete proof to support their case.
I understand that there will be dog vs. human conflicts. There will be conflicts even if dogs are on leash. As I see it, the CRD only receives complaints when there is a conflict. They do not hear the thousands of non conflitcts that occur each year. This leads to the CRD having a tainted view. Personal experience has shown that in the 2.5 years I have walked Yoshi there, I have had probably close to 100 non conflicts, with exactly 1 conflict. To me that is pretty good odds.
If CRD really wanted to encourage dog owners to clean up after their pets, perhaps they should strategically place garbage cans throughout the park. As it is currently there are only cans at the main beaches. I don’t think anyone would want to carry around a stinky bag when going on a 45 minute walk. If owners knew that a can was only a couple minutes away, I am sure more people would clean up.
The other disturbing fact is that the CRD is pushing through these rule changes despite the fact that the experts are advising against it. They didn’t try to fix the problem with education, instead they change the rules, and punish the good dog owners while doing nothing to deter the bad dog owners.
The other disturbing fact is that currently CRD does not have enough funds to enforce the current rules. It is unknown how they will be able to effectively enforce the new rules. It really does seem silly that one of the parks largest user groups is getting punished when no other is.