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LETTER: Other activities don’t diminish dogs’ disturbance of birds

The authors of two recent letters have taken whataboutism to a whole new stratosphere.

In “Reasons to ban off-leash dogs on beach don’t hold water,” the author points to power boats, the marina and “piles of refuse” left behind by beach visitors and nearby houses. He states that “algal blooms that occur every summer in the bay are likely caused by garden fertilizers” and “some of the homeowners may own cats,” even though he has no evidence as to whether either is true, and even though no one has ever stated that there aren’t other problems in addition to wildlife harassment by off-leash dogs.

He calls the nine-month September though May migration season “a short time” and neglects to mention that the herons currently nesting in June, and using these beaches throughout the entire year, are also protected species. He doesn’t mention the many other valid safety reasons for restricting dogs on public beaches, either through the use of leashes or seasonal prohibitions during busy summer months.

In “Human activity disturbing migratory birds” the author takes issue with the annual Oak Bay Tea Party fireworks display. Like stopping fireworks on the shoreline of a bird sanctuary, leashing a dog is a simple and effective way to prevent wildlife disturbance. Unlike an annual fireworks event, off-leash dogs disturb birds every single day.

He further suggests that the following should be banned from shorelines: volleyball, paddle ball, sandcastle building, sunbathing, beachcombing, all motorized watercraft, jet skis, paddle boarders, kayakers, canoers, fishermen, sailboats, beachfront parties, lights and all events with noise.

Yes, there are many other human-caused disturbances to birds. Dogs harassing birds, which is far more likely to occur when they are off-leash, is one of these, and it is one that is already legislated. Both authors are clearly very passionate about identifying other human-caused issues and they should be encouraged to advocate for more restrictions on any and all harmful activities to further the protection of wildlife.

Dave McKnight

Saanich