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LETTER: Dogs need a space to run free

This is directed at the writers who were urging Saanich to keep dogs on leash or away from Mt. Doug and Cadboro Bay beach. I am really sorry that you encountered rambunctious dogs who were not being properly managed by their owners. Dogs are allowed off-leash if they are under the control of their owners – and clearly these were not. However, I am asking Saanich not to take away off-leash privileges from all dogs and their owners.

Most of us are responsible, considerate and competent. Our dogs enjoy running in nature, and they are not ruining the habitat for everyone just because they do so. There are lots of places for you to go where dogs are not permitted off-leash. As an example, I live near Cedar Hill Golf Course, and one of the reasons I moved here was because my dog could walk on the trail with me, off-leash. Saanich changed the rules, and now dogs must be leashed at all times. There was virtually no consultation with dog owners. We were being punished because of the actions of a few. The same thing happened with Lochside Trail. Even on the weekends, when cyclists are not commuting to work, I must have my dog leashed. I accept that and I do so.

Please enjoy all the wonderful places in Saanich where dogs are not allowed to run free – I assure you, that includes most of them. Please let those of us with well-trained dogs to continue to enjoy Mt. Doug. We don’t have as many options as you do. And I promise you, I will continue to keep my dog under control.

Suzanne Bell