LETTERS: Divided perspectives on ‘dog culture’

Editor:

Do these people complaining about dogs have any idea just how silly they sound? I love their latest complaint, the smell of dog pee.

News flash – it has rained in the last six weeks, a lot. Pretty sure rain washes away any smell.

My wife and I actually feel sorry for these miserable people who want to take the simple joy of walking the dog away from people. We pay taxes just like you and I believe the promenade is public property open to all and, like it or not, our dogs are family.

Perhaps these haters should go and rescue a dog and maybe they could find a little joy in their lives.

T. and D. Friesen, Surrey

•••

If we are collectively going to solve the global-warming crisis, we need to tackle the big problems and embrace the easy solutions. Many things humans do are bad for the planet and contribute to global warming.

Dog culture is one of them, and better management of dogs and their numbers is necessary, as the facts show that the current dog population is unsustainable and positively destructive.

While other cities are moving forward, by licensing and tracking dogs by archiving DNA, limiting numbers of dogs and separately collecting dog waste in public parks, the City of White Rock seems to be going in a different direction. The city reversed a decade-long ban on dogs at the beachfront, and in doing so made the grassy areas (where children play and families picnic) a dog toilet.

Trees drink water, not dog urine, and the grass is now a cesspool of fecal matter, bacteria and potential parasites and disease. Before spring, the City of White Rock should responsibly erect signs along the promenade, warning people to stay off the grass as it is a public health hazard.

During this dog trial on the promenade, the city has erected signs asking people to “Stoop and scoop after your dog,” the graphic showing the owner depositing the feces in the garbage bin. However, the city was informed that dog feces should not go to the landfill, but be collected separately from garbage and composted properly. Ideally, dog owners should take their pets’ mess home and either compost or flush it. Instead – unless the city has someone separating the feces from the garbage – they are sending it to the landfill, where it is a health hazard to workers and breaks down into methane, which is 20 times more damaging to the planet than carbon dioxide and a main contributor to global warming.

Now that the City of White Rock has announced efforts to create a healthier planet by acting locally, I encourage the city councillors to better-manage dogs – their impact on wildlife on White Rock’s promenade and foreshore (a vital bird habitat in the Boundary Bay Wildlife Management Area), their urine and feces – to create a healthier planet, not a more polluted and warming one.

Years ago, we didn’t know that smoking was bad, but once we did, we made important changes. Now that we know the harm caused by dog culture, what are we going to do, and what do we expect local government to do, in order to protect the planet?

Adrian Brown, Surrey

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