Surrey’s dog owners have to deal more and more with each other, in addition to reduced green space, writes Gayle Holden. (File photo)

Surrey’s dog owners have to deal more and more with each other, in addition to reduced green space, writes Gayle Holden. (File photo)

LETTERS: Dealing with densification, dogs

Editor: We’ve noticed, with the increasing densification, there has come an increase in dog owners.

Editor:

My husband and I moved to our Panorama Village/Sullivan Station neighbourhood in 1999 when the first new townhomes were being built.

We have watched as sections of land have been gradually developed into more townhouse complexes, as well as large single-dwelling homes.

Along with all the new residences have come the occupants and with them their dogs.

We are dog lovers ourselves and have had three since moving to this community. We’ve noticed, with the increasing densification, there has come an increase in the numbers of dog owners. Most are considerate and thoughtful of others, but there is a segment who seem to be oblivious to basic rules of co-existence. As more and more people pour into our developing neighbourhoods, we are seeing an increase in owners with aggressive, anti-social dogs.

People choose dog breeds for many different reasons. In this case, without leashes, these dogs would be attacking and causing grievous harm to other innocent unsuspecting dogs. In my neighborhood alone, there are German shepherds, bull terriers, Rottweilers, boxers, Samoyeds and huskies that are routinely walked – sometimes in pairs – and their owners are barely able to restrain them on their leashes. The owners always describe their dogs as being “friendly,” but friendly dogs do not lunge and strain at the leash and snarl at my dog unprovoked. The numbers of these walkers and their dogs, in public places, are rising.

Do not misunderstand my statement. These breeds are only dangerous and a problem if their owners have not taken steps to train them for life in densely populated areas. Some breeds just don’t do well if they feel they have no territory at all.

Development has just begun on the large parcel of land adjacent to 152 Street and Panorama Drive. We attended the council meeting regarding the development proposals and were participants in the open discussion. Of major concern was, again, densification with no real concern for parking issues, impacts on school populations and loss of green space. Council made a show of listening but, in reality, the developers had already won the day.

We have one small forest reserve in our neighbourhood that is used for dog walking and access from housing to the local shopping centre. If there is no green space allocated for the new development, that forest reserve is going to suffer from over-use very quickly, and I predict some serious incidents may occur regarding dog owners who refuse to train and control their animals.

This letter is an appeal to dog owners in the area, particularly those newly relocated, to understand you are responsible for the behaviour of your dog.

Please leash your dog at all times and arrange for training if your dog is not adapting well to life living in close proximity with other strange dogs.

Also, consider there may be certain breeds that are just not suitable to living in places where people and dogs are slowly being concentrated into smaller and smaller spaces.

Gayle Holden, Surrey