LETTERS: Dogs’ droppings much more damaging than birds’

Editor:

The task force to study dogs on the promenade has started.

They are charged with the task of designing measurements to decide the success or failure of allowing dogs into our foreshore environment from October to March each year.

Upon reading the terms of reference for this task force, I was shocked to find that council voted to consider dogs on the promenade year-round.

Their justification for dogs on the promenade in the off-season was to help the businesses on Marine Drive.

Can you imagine, in our busy summer season, allowing dogs onto that packed promenade?

I recently came across a scientific study done in 2009 that sought to “quantify the microbial load (enterococci) contributed by the different animals that frequent a beach site.”

It stated that “a dog fecal event is 6,940 times more toxic than a single bird fecal event. If dogs are allowed on the promenade year-round, council is inviting the equivalent of one and a quarter million bird droppings to our beach every year.

The main conclusion of the study was, “Given the abundance of animals observed on the beach, this study suggests that dogs are the largest contributing animal source of enterococci to the beach site.”

I find these measurements interesting and it is not difficult to do the math.

If we estimate that dog fecal event will occur every other day during the trial period (a very conservative number), that totals 90 dog fecal events on the promenade in six months.

The same council that wants to protect the environment by reviewing every single application to take down a tree, approved a trial that will create the same level of toxicity on the beach area as 624,600 birds every single year.

Responsible dog owners will say that they pick up after their dog but residue is left behind and that is the problem.

Dog urine will also leave brown patches all over the grassy areas adjoining the promenade.

The current lack of enforcement on the promenade is resulting in many dogs using the promenade as an entrance to the beach where the dogs happily romp off-leash.

Our foreshore is part of the Boundary Bay Wildlife Management Area. Our beautiful bay should be respected by all because it is part of the important international Pacific Flyway where birds rest and feed while on their migration south.

Patricia Kealy, White Rock

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