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School properties are not public parks

If there were no rules prohibiting off-leash dogs on the school grounds, a large number of dogs would use the field as a toilet

Each time I walk my two large dogs past Willows School they both pull me towards the field and look longingly at the wide open space. However, I deny them the opportunity. Why? Because there is signage in place that says I’m not permitted to.

My daughter went to Willows for six years and there were a number of occasions where I heard of children coming in from recess or lunch with dog feces on their footwear or clothing.

Ms. Lapointe is diligent about cleaning up after her dog but I’ve seen dogs defecating, and owners who weren’t paying attention or turned a blind eye. On one occasion I saw a dog with obvious digestive distress, leave a mess that could not possibly be picked up and was left behind by the dog’s guardian.

As an expert on dog behaviour, I can assure Ms. Lapointe that her dog will do well with the sensory exercise of exploration during an on-leash walk and if she desires socialization she can get together with some of the other scofflaws and walk together. High-energy dogs recover from physical exertion very quickly. Exercising their brain and senses more effectively settles a high-energy dog.

Oak Bay does its best to ensure we have off-leash areas for our dogs but I don’t believe that our city has a responsibility to provide me with open areas for my dog that are within walking distance of my home. Nor do I believe it’s the city’s responsibility to provide me with bags to clean up after my dogs.

If there were no rules prohibiting off-leash dogs on the school grounds I can imagine that the number of dogs using the field as a toilet, would increase dramatically. Fortunately, most of our taxpaying citizens choose to obey the rules.

Steve Huxter

Oak Bay