LETTERS: Get the message out to dog walkers in MacDonald Park

Please, please, please improve the signage in MacDonald Park requiring dogs to be on a leash at all times.

This park has become a default off-leash dog run. In fact, it is a busy playing field, home to rugby, baseball, sun tanning, picnics, kite flying and other activities. At least two nearby child-care centres use it regularly.

The off-leash dogs are causing many problems. Too often, while walking across the park, I have to sidestep dog poop. This shouldn’t be the case in such an otherwise well maintained playing field.

Off-leash dogs, including large, fearsome breeds, are dangerous to other users. Today I witnessed the final straw: a big off-leash dog charged at a blind woman crossing the field with her seeing-eye dog. This startled her and could easily have ended badly if her service dog had not been so well trained. It was upsetting to witness this encounter.

The problem can be mostly alleviated with two simple measures. First, install more and bigger signage with clear direction that dogs must be on a leash at all times within the MacDonald Park boundaries. Currently, there are only two tiny signs for this large area. Second, increase the number of patrols by Animal Control and vary the patrol times.

The best solution would be to ban dogs altogether from sports playing fields. This is worthy of a broader discussion.

As well, the number of Animal Control officers must be increased in Victoria given the huge increase in the dog population. Having one officer on duty during a shift to cover Victoria, Oak Bay and Esquimalt is ridiculous. Policing dogs and dog owners must be assigned a higher priority.

Brian Mason

Victoria

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