LETTER: Off-leash dogs limit enjoyment of paths

Poole Creek Walkway. Photo by Barry Gray.

(Photo by Barry Gray.)

I like to walk around the paths and there are dogs running loose and ahead of their owners.  These animals are larger dogs (huskies, collies, German shepherds, etc.), they are naturally trying to protect the owners. With the growling and barking it is quite disturbing.

We were over on the Abbott Street trail snowshoeing last year and a dog was off leash, and the lady was upset with her dog when it wouldn’t listen to her commands.  I was the last of four of us and the dog was really upset with me even though I didn’t look directly at him. I can tell you that with the dog biting at the back of my heels still attached to my snow shoes, a bit nervous was not the right choice of words.

I did not want to be taken down while I couldn’t defend myself in the two feet of snow off of the beaten down snow walkway. So now I carry a dog spray for these occasions. I do not want to harm an animal, but I will not be hurt by one either. I would advise others to do the same for these loose animals until people learn to leash their dogs, or enforcement does their job.

A lady that I know has had similar experiences and reported them to the authorities a number of times with nothing being done. Her husband is really upset about these issues as she goes running alone early in the morning.

As a 71-year-old senior I enjoy these walkways as a form of relaxation and freedom that is disappearing somewhat. Being from Nova Scotia I am no stranger to the outdoors and animals but you have to be alert to these things that can go wrong in a hurry.

Bill Theriault Sr.
Stittsville


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6 thoughts on “LETTER: Off-leash dogs limit enjoyment of paths”

  1. Re Comment #1 – That’s the problem – everyone thinks their dog is friendly. Even on leash they can be a problem for seniors or the mobility-challenged if the leash doesn’t keep them far enough away. Also even “friendly” dogs are not appreciated by some

    1. Contrary to what you have stated, not all dog owners are oblivious. Not all dog owners believe their dogs are friendly. Evidence of this can be seen below by responsible pet owners’ comments.

      It is blanket statements like this that do us no good. Open your mind and heart and please do not brush-stroke people with your opinions.

  2. My dog is awesome, and loving, but is very loud and a timid breed. She barks at a lot of things when we are out. If she is off leash she will run at you bark madly. I am 100% confident that she will do no physical harm, zero. That being said, my choice to have a dog is not for everyone to have to deal with. Parks are for everyone, and as a dog owner you have no idea what other people are dealing with. Maybe someone has a massive phobia. Its not for you to decide or impose on others. You are not entitled to have your dog off leash unless you are in a ‘legal off leash park’. There is a link right there in the ‘Recommended Reading’ at the bottom of this article. Friendly or not. Also, as a responsible dog owner, you should probably know that even if your dog is friendly, it is still an animal, and can still act like an animal regardless of the fact that they have never freaked out in the past.

    1. to make it clear, Mr. Theriault is correct and should have the right to enjoy trails without dealing with our dogs (or what they leave behind for that matter). My decision to get a dog, was my decision to make the effort of leashing or finding an off leash park.

    2. Tim, you hit the nail on the head! I am an animal person, but EVERY animal has what I call the “unknown quantity”. Under any set of circumstances, your pet may be friendly, But change those circumstances even marginally, and things can change very quickly. The way your pet behaves at home changes once you take it out the door. On a trail, with various stimuli to test a dog’s curiosity, your otherwise well-behaved pet can turn on a dime. I am a senior, who enjoys walking the trails, and am not afraid of dogs. However, I am also very aware that if I ever fell, things could go horribly wrong for me very quickly. A dog running toward me, jumping up, etc is not something I feel I need to contend with. Off lead parks are the place you should be if you feel your dog needs a good run. And those leashes that extend can also be a danger if the owner does not retract them fast enough. I’ve nearly been tripped up on those on more than one occasion.

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