LETTER: Dogs aren't the problem, but bad dog-owners are

Dear editor:

We love to pat ourselves on the back for rescuing dogs. We are dog crazy here.

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There's even a show at the Polygon Gallery called "Dog Days." But to all the dog owners who think it’s OK to let your dogs off leash everywhere in the City of North Vancouver: It’s NOT OK.
We should be able to safely walk our dogs on sidewalks without fear of a black lab, or flying chihuahua coming out of nowhere, or a terrier screaming out of a back lane to bark at or approach others.
Many of us are trying to acclimatize and train rescue dogs to their new environments.

A reactive dog is an animal who's been attacked by other dogs or who has a big fear of other dogs and can get freaked out. They need time and training to feel safe.

We avoid off-leash parks because we know it’s a flash point. We even avoid on-leash parks because most people leave their dogs to run free there too. When I tried to explain that to a woman who let three dogs approach us at the same time, she said “It’s a public place.” I had to inform her it was an on-leash park, and that she needed to be in control of her dogs. So we don’t go there anymore.
Sidewalks at least should be safe. They are not.

The worst part is when an owner of an off-leash dog says: “ My dog is fine.. It’s not about your dog. It’s about an expectation for all the other owners of dogs who count on the rules for the safety of their animals and to help them learn that it’s safe here.
We had another unplanned visit from an off-leash dog on a sidewalk this morning. When I told the owner he shouldn’t leave him loose like that, unsupervised. He told me: “I don’t think my dog is the one with the problem.”
Nope. Your dog isn’t the problem. My dog isn’t the problem. Dog owners like you are.

Kathy Daley
Central Lonsdale

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