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LETTER: Saanich has indulged dog owners for too long


After months of biting my tongue on the district’s People, Pets and Parks Strategy, I now feel compelled to speak out. Quite frankly, the pro-dog zealots are a disgrace. Admittedly, some of the comments raised by this group have merit (i.e. the difficulties of holding a leash for a person in a wheelchair) but the vast majority of this group’s assertions associated with what I believe to be a very proactive and balanced strategy, are beyond absurd.

The issue, which the pro-dog crowd fails to understand or simply chooses to ignore, is that they have had it way too good for way too long. Having off-leash areas in every single Saanich park should never have been the norm. But it has been for decades and now that Saanich has pursued a forward-thinking strategy that likely should have been pursued decades earlier, the pro-dog crowd is whining like a human rights issue has been violated. Give me a break.

What concerns me the most is that this overly entitled group prioritizes their animals over children. I have three children and the older two, aged 7 and 4, are petrified of dogs due to a series of rambunctious and out-of-control off-leash dog incidents at Saanich parks. If I hear one more dog owner describe their dog as ‘friendly’ I’m going to lose my mind. Your ‘friendly’ dog sprinting full speed at my four-year-old and promptly knocking him to the ground isn’t friendly; it’s wild and chaotic. I’m sick and tired of my kids clutching my leg for dear life when they see an off-leash dog approaching them. Honestly, how hard is it to have your dog on a leash in a park?

Lastly, it’s truly fascinating how many dog owners think that their dog is an angel sent down from the heavens that never causes any issues. Next time your off-leash dog accosts a child at a park perhaps you might view your precious Rufus or Fluffy through the lens of a terrified child and not through your canine-clouded eyes.

Reed Bailey