EDITORIAL: Dogged debate ahead for city council

Council will have to weigh a number of factors as they deliberate whether to allow leashed dogs to stroll the White Rock Promenade during the quiet fall and winter months, beginning — potentially — this September.

Within the next few weeks, they plan to open the debate to the community at large — including representatives from BNSF and the Semiahmoo First Nation — at a public forum. No doubt, council will hear many of the same arguments on both sides of the issue that have been made repeatedly since the idea was first floated.

Those pushing for the right to bring their dogs along as they stroll the esplanade will point out that for many people, pets are akin to their children. There’s even a term for this attachment: “fur babies.”

Why should their dogs remain cooped up at home while they are out stretching their legs and enjoying a breath of fresh air, they might ask.

Those who oppose the plan will point out that while most pet owners love their animals, not all of them embrace the responsibility that comes with the role — cleaning up after their canine companions.

There’s evidence of this lack of consideration anywhere dogs are walked.

If they think they can get away with it, some owners will simply let their dogs do their business and stroll away like nothing happened. Others might go through the motions of bagging up the leavings for show, but will take the first opportunity to toss the baggie into a bush rather than carry the unpleasant package with them.

If it goes ahead, strict policing and consistent enforcement — including steep fines — will be paramount right out of the gate, along with the provision of plenty of opportunity for proper disposal.

There will always be those for whom the rules apply only when it’s convenient. You cannot, as the cliché goes, teach old dogs new tricks.

But should the non-compliance of the few outweigh the desire of the many?

There are, of course, valid arguments on both sides of the debate and in the end, it might simply come down to numbers — as it should. In a democracy, majority rules.

Here’s one more cliché that applies: You’ll never know unless you try.

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