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New limits for dogs may come to CRD parks

A three-dog limit (eight for professional walkers) might arrive next year

Starting in May 2018, CRD park users could face restrictions on the amount of dogs they can walk at one time.

At a meeting on Nov. 15, the CRD Regional Parks Committee voted to recommend a three-dog limit for individuals and an eight-dog limit for commercial dog walkers to the CRD board, which would have the final say at a meeting next month.

According to a staff report, increasing visitation to CRD parks had led to emails from visitors about more dogs in parks, and particularly how off-leash dogs may bother some visitors, which is allowed in CRD parks.

The Parks Committee at the CRD examined practices of 10 municipalities in Greater Vancouver, other parts of Canada and California, some of which have placed limits on the amount of dogs with any one person.

Some municipalities also required commercial dog walkers to walk no more than four, six or eight dogs, depending on the location “so [CRD] staff recommended the high side of what they found in terms of restrictions,” said Central Saanich mayor Ryan Windsor, who sits on the CRD parks committee.

The next CRD board meeting is next month, and if the board adopts the recommendation made by the parks committee, the new regulations would take effect in May 2018. They would also include a new $320 permit fee for commercial dog walking operations, as well as a code of conduct regarding the place and time they walk their dogs.

Windsor supported the recommendation yesterday, and he plans to support it at the board because he said it was a “starting point.”

“Based on the feedback we’ve received over the years, it was appropriate to take some steps to say to dog owners, ‘you’re allowed, but there are some restrictions in place in terms of the number of dogs you can have in individual control.’ And we may revisit those based on the experience of users in the park. It may be that commercial dog walkers who get licenses get feedback is that they prefer six rather than eight, but we don’t know those questions yet.”

Windsor said that if the CRD adopts those regulations, Central Saanich would likely consider similar restrictions.

“The overwhelming number of households with dog licenses have only one dog. The number of people we’d expect the decision to impact will affect a very small number of households, if any, in Central Saanich.”

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