Semiahmoo Peninsula dog owners are asking White Rock council to establish an enclosed park for smaller breeds.

Owners of small dogs ask for divided area in White Rock

An Aug. 31 petition, signed by 92 owners, was received by White Rock council for information Monday evening.

Semiahmoo Peninsula dog owners are asking White Rock council to establish an enclosed park for smaller breeds – as part of the existing dog run at Centennial Park.

An Aug. 31 petition, signed by 92 owners, was received by White Rock council for information Monday evening.

White Rock resident Linda Wingren, who organized the petition with South Surrey neighbours Bill Benjamin and Carol Read, is asking that council consider adding a short fence to separate the park into large and small dog areas, and provide a second water supply for the larger dogs.

“When you look at recent news items, you can see what an issue it’s become,” Wingren told Peace Arch News, noting that she and her neighbours originally discussed the idea of an enclosed small dog park at Centennial Park early in the summer.

A pit bull was recently ordered muzzled after a vicious attack Aug. 20 on a small dog and its elderly owner in the city; while in Langley, a large aggressive dog, described as a Cane Corso, was killed Aug. 30 by the owner of a Labrador retriever it was attacking.

“It doesn’t require much room at all. It’s really just an area for the dogs to socialize,” she said.

Wingren said her own seven-pound Yorkie, Rosa, has been attacked twice by larger dogs in her 3½ years – though without serious damage.

But she said the prospect of a large dog bounding up to a small dog and its owner can be a definite health hazard, as many owners of smaller breeds are seniors.

“(The park) is not a totally flat surface, it doesn’t offer a perfect footing if your own footing is not perfect,” she said.

Wingren, who has owned larger dogs, including German shepherds, said she is convinced the majority of larger dog owners in the city are responsible – but it only takes one or two who do not have full control of their dogs to create a dangerous situation.

“I’ve heard that some of the smaller dogs kick in the prey instinct of larger dogs and as we tend to pick up our own dog – which is only natural – that tends to kick in the ‘treeing’ instinct.”

Creating a small area specifically for smaller dogs would not be simply to counteract a negative situation, she said.

“It would allow the owners of the small dogs to socialize, too, which makes for a very pleasant activity.”

Wingren is hopeful that a positive response from council will be forthcoming, adding that city operations manager Greg St. Louis told her in a recent phone conversation that creating a small park within the existing run could be managed without too much cost to the city.

White Rock council Monday evening referred the petition to staff for review.

Councillors noted the petition only contained names, signatures and email addresses – not home addresses.

“I would like to have some sense of how many live in White Rock and how many live in Surrey,” said Coun. Lynne Sinclair. “I think we need to have a handle on that.”

– files from Matthew Hoekstra

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