To the Editor,
For the last few years, city residents have had the opportunity to walk their dogs off-leash at various Nanaimo-area parks.
At a recent open house, city staff and other residents raised negative aspects of off-leash parks and I am concerned that there may not have been equal consideration for the positive aspects.
Recently, I walked around the upper Colliery Dam Park and saw no fewer than eight other people walking their dogs off-leash.
My dog loves the freedom he has and the many times we have walked through the area, we have not had a bad experience with other dogs. Occasional growls sometimes occur, but that is pretty normal and usually benign in the world of dogs.
I appreciate the city’s endorsement of these off-leash areas that allow for residents to walk with their dogs in a natural way.
Most dog owners I have encountered are pro-active in terms of correcting any inappropriate canine behaviour and ensuring other park users do not feel uncomfortable or threatened in any way.
While my preference would be for lower Colliery Dam Park to also be available for off-leash use, I do appreciate that limiting the off-leash areas in terms of locale and time gives equal consideration to those residents who prefer to encounter strange dogs on a leash as opposed to off.
The Animal Control Centre is contracted by the city to ensure dog owners obey these rules and to implement fines for those who do not.
Regarding dogs impacting ecological areas, there might be the rare dog who runs off the path and through the bush, potentially upsetting the wildlife, but I have never seen this myself and believe it’s a small minority of dogs who do this.