Kathleen Burton, executive director of the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary Society, says the society is partnering with Saanich Pound to patrol the grounds of the sanctuary to inform and ticket any dog owners present on the site. (Black Press File)

Saanich’s Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary steps up dog enforcement

Third round of bylaw enforcement aims to preserve rare ecosystems

A local nature sanctuary reminds residents to keep the dogs out.

Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary has partnered with the Saanich Pound to patrol the grounds of the sanctuary to inform and ticket any dog owners present on the site.

“Partnerships like this one between the Saanich [by-law enforcement officers] and the Saanich Police are incredibly valuable to the work we do in educating the public,” said Kathleen Burton, executive director of the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary Society, which manages the sanctuary.

READ ALSO: Swan Lake welcomes downward-facing dogs and dragon posers

Julia Dawson, coordinator of volunteers and events with the society, said the sanctuary is an important natural reserve in the heart of Saanich. “The presence of dogs in these sensitive ecosystems has a negative effect on the animals, plants and birds. Enforcing the bylaw protects this unique, wild oasis to preserve it for future visitors and generations,” she said.

Jay Rastogi, the society’s site manager, said the sanctuary is one of the few places where wildlife can rest and feed undisturbed. “As the city expands, keeping these small fragments of wild habitat free from stress related to pet activity is valuable to sustaining nature,” he said.

The society stressed in its release that the bylaw is not to keep their pets out or prevent them from enjoying the outdoors, but about respecting the mission of the sanctuary and preserving the park’s natural beauty.

The sanctuary said it plans to follow two previous enforcement rounds with additional rounds planned for the next few months. Staff members and volunteers will also be present on the trails to supply any dog owners with the information on the bylaw and the reasoning behind it.

For more information, including the bylaw, see here.


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