Who (should) let the dogs out?

Dear editor,
I do not understand the negative knee-jerk response to a suggestion that an off-leash dog park be designated in Comox.

Dear editor,

I do not understand the negative knee-jerk response to a suggestion that an off-leash dog park be designated in Comox.

The thinking seems to be that a dog off-leash is automatically bad and, I’m guessing, a dog on-leash scarcely better…

Yet humans have lived with — and benefited from — canine companions for tens of thousands of years.

Nowadays, dogs provide eyes for the blind, companionship for the lonely, aid for farmers with their flocks. There are canines that seek out hidden explosive devices, helping protect not only local people but also our military. The list goes on.

Close to our pocketbooks, studies have shown that those of us who live with companion dogs generally access costly health-care less frequently than the rest of the population.

Communities are realizing off-leash dog parks are an asset.  Calgary has several. Edmonton boasts 40. There are off-leash dog parks in Vancouver, Nanaimo, Kelowna, Kamloops, Osoyoos and — the most glorious of all — along Dallas Road in Victoria.

I have been walking a succession of my dogs off-leash along Dallas Road at least annually for well over 5o years and have yet to see a dog fight or a dog harassing a human. And, believe me, there are dogs of all shapes, sizes and breeds running free.

Yes, there are irresponsibly trained dogs that should not be off-leash, but most dogs are safe off-leash.

Is there etiquette that dogs and their owners should observe whether the dogs are on- or off-leash?  Oh, yes — definitely.

Does the Comox Valley need a designated dog park? Yes, definitely.

Should it be the Port Augusta Park? This possibility deserves careful, rational thought.

Should the dog park be fenced and posted? Fenced, probably; posted, definitely.

Should the Town of Comox create a year-round leash-free area within the town for dogs? Most definitely.

After all, it is tax contributed by all, including those who have dogs, which maintain our parks.

Wendy Johnson,


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