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LETTERS: Dog-obedience training needed

Editor: Re: Dogs-on-promenade question spurs debate , Sept. 27.
Dog owners have many responsibilities – to their pet, environment and community, among them – writes Adrian Brown. (Contributed photos)


Re: Dogs-on-promenade question spurs debate, Sept. 27.

What debate? There is a bylaw that states dogs are not permitted on the promenade or beach in White Rock. Anyone that brings a dog to these areas is in clear violation.

Only these two questions remain: “Why do so many dog owners feel they are exempt?” and “Why doesn’t the city patrol and ticket the prolific and ubiquitous offending dog owners?”

Each and every day, I see dog owners disregarding the bylaw either by walking their dog – sometimes off-leash – on the promenade, or allowing them to run wild on the beach.

But the doggie problem doesn’t start and stop at the beaches in White Rock or Surrey, as there is total disregard of bylaws throughout both cities.

Sunnyside Park athletic fields and South Surrey Recreation Centre sports fields are used by dog owners as their own private off-leash dog parks. It’s disheartening that so many have such a lack of respect for others, as I’ve witnessed dogs urinating and defecating on these fields. Local tennis and pickleball courts are used as off-leash dog areas, and dog feces on the court is an ongoing problem.

Meridian By The Sea Park is frequently used as an off-leash dog park. This is especially vulgar and a major health issue, as small children play here.

Duprez Ravine is a forested area that gently slopes from 16 Avenue to the beachfront. It is impossible to not encounter hounds running around wild, with no owner at hand, and a ravine littered with dog poop.

Dog owners seem to forget wildlife depend on us for protection. A great number of migrating birds rest and feed here to gather energy. Serpentine Fen – an “Important Bird Area” – is treated as an off-leash dog park by many. On one visit to Mud Bay Park, I encountered not less than 60 piles of dog poop on or by the trail leading from the parking lot.

There are dog feces everywhere in the Semiahmoo area. While some do pick up, it’s dismaying they don’t dispose of it in a proper composter. Instead, people put it in a public waste bin where it ends up in the land fill. If not composted, it will run off into creeks and rivers where it will deplete the water and oxygen, killing fish and aquatic life. The poo of your best friend must be treated as the toxic mess that it is. Take it home and compost it properly.

I frequently see dogs off-leash on the public sidewalk, in contravention of bylaws. More importantly, I can’t help but wonder how a loving owner could let their pet meander so near speeding road traffic. The only places dogs are allowed off-leash are dog parks and at your home.

I encourage both White Rock and Surrey to enforce – and make stricter – bylaws and stop tip-toeing around the poop. Get owners to pick it up and compost it properly, and ticket those who don’t.

Dog owners need to recognize they have many responsibilities. To their pet, to neighbours, to wildlife, to the environment and to the city in which they live and to the greater community as a whole.

You are not exempt, no matter how lovable your dog is. So, obey responsibilities, or don’t own a dog.

Adrian Brown, Surrey

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