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

New crop of hand-crafted heats popping up across Saanich

Community arts program promotes wellness, sends message of caring from people of all ages

South Island Transportation Strategy looks to reduce reliance on personal vehicles

EV charging stations, bike lockers, new park-and-ride stalls among solutions in Capital Region

BC Transit finishes wave of replacements with natural gas buses in Victoria

Average fleet age drops a few years with new buses added in 2020

Oak Bay couple honoured for 35 years volunteering

Mayor awards distinguished Oak Leaf to Bert and Doris Dinsmore

Meet the Liberal candidate for Oak Bay-Gordon Head

Roxanne Helme about ‘governance, not politics’

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Most Read