Jerry Donaldson, the self-proclaimed Cadboro Bay Dog Walker, and his “pack” enjoy a morning on Cadboro Bay beach. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich dog walkers react to potential review of bylaws allowing off-leash dogs on beaches

Focus should have remained on migratory birds, not on dog behaviour, says Cadboro Bay dog walker

Despite the light rain, on Tuesday morning dog walkers made their daily pilgrimage to Cadboro Bay beach to mingle and exercise their pups. Each time a friend arrived – human or canine – the conversation paused and joyful greetings rang out in the cool air.

On this day, they discussed the Saanich council meeting the night before that was dominated by public input on Coun. Karen Harper’s request for a review of the District’s bylaws allowing off-leash dogs on beaches.

About two-thirds of residents were opposed to a review, Harper told Black Press Media on Tuesday.

READ ALSO: Councillor calls for review of off-leash dogs on Saanich beaches

Jerry Donaldson, the self-proclaimed Cadboro Bay Dog Walker, was among those opposed. He’s been using the beach for 30 years. Five years ago, he started a dog walking business as a retirement project. He takes his “pack” of about eight pups down to the beach every day.

On Monday, Donaldson, who has four dogs of his own, was one of many residents who provided input on Harper’s report that he felt was based on “valid concerns” about migratory birds. However, he said the case was “weakened” when other “side issues” about dogs were brought in.

“The situation that she [Harper] presents is far from accurate,” Donaldson said during the public input period of the Monday evening council meeting.

He emphasized that the dog walkers who frequent the beach are respectful and mindful of their pooches’ behaviour. Donaldson, for example, doesn’t let his whole pack off-leash at the same time, always picks up after them and “leashes up” if people voice concerns.

“It’s about coexistence,” said Louise Egan, a Gordon Head resident with a 16-year-old miniature pinscher named Tobias tucked in her raincoat. She brings her dogs down to Cadboro Bay beach on a daily basis.

Egan, who also addressed council during the Feb. 24 meeting, agreed that while Harper’s motion was brought up under the guise of environmental stewardship, the focus has shifted to canine behaviour on the beach.

READ ALSO: Public input regarding off-leash dogs on Saanich beaches dominates council meeting

Off-leash play is important for dogs because a leash changes their behaviour, Egan said while a playful Aussiedoodle wove between her legs.

Egan pointed out that the dog meet-ups don’t just benefit the canines, but the owners have become friends and look out for one another. If a member of the group doesn’t show up for a while, the others check in to make sure they’re alright, she said. She emphasized this camaraderie while addressing council.

Donaldson said Saanich dog walkers who oppose the bylaw review don’t plan to go down without a fight. Council will vote on Harper’s motion for a staff-review of the bylaws on March 2.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

beachesDistrict of SaanichDogsSaanich

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Jerry Donaldson, the self-proclaimed Cadboro Bay Dog Walker, and his “pack” pause to greet other dog owners on Cadboro Bay beach. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Just Posted

Police search for suspect in robbery at Saanich 7-11

Suspect told the cashier he was armed

Mount Douglas Park closed to vehicle traffic over long weekend

Saanich residents encouraged to explore parks in their neighbourhood on foot

COVID-19: School-based lunch programs expand to feed thousands during crisis

SD61 and community partners provide meals to 1,000 families per week

Cowichan Valley man dies in single-vehicle collision

First responders called to Miller Road shortly after midnight on Thursday

B.C., Alberta health ministers urge public to stay home Easter weekend

Regional politicians, online petition calling for closure of provincial border to non-essential traffic

Canadian businesses urged to complete survey on COVID-19 impacts

Chamber and Statistic Canada trying to understand what businesses are going through

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

B.C. First Nations Health Authority launches virtual doctor program

Program to provide primary health care through COVID-19 pandemic

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

VIDEO: B.C. singer creates frontline workers tribute song

Cambree Lovesy’s song saluting those battling COVID-19 draws interest online

Most Read