Dear Dog Owners,
Just about every day now that spring is here, as I walk my 3 year old daughter along Kits beach, we encounter dogs running around WITHOUT a leash in the “leash on” areas. These are not stray dogs. The owners are always close by so when they see my daughter bolting into my arms, the owner inevitably reassures me that THEIR dog is used to children, loves children, wouldn’t hurt a fly. Well, three such “friendly dogs” killed a six year old boy in the Hungarian village of Noszlop yesterday. The news report goes on to say that no one in the village understands how such a tragedy could have happened.
“Those dogs were always so friendly …”. Maybe they were… until yesterday.
It’s been a few years now, but I’ll never forget the time we visited friends just as my friend’s friend popped in on her way home from hospital to cry her eyes out because her daughter had just been bitten in the face by a passing dog. He was not on a leash. She was a mother and actress, and this “accident” probably curtailed the possibility that her daughter would follow in her mother’s footsteps. The dog’s owner couldn’t understand it. Up until that day, his dog had never hurt a fly.
So… to all you dog owners out here in beautiful Kitsilano, and don’t get me wrong, I love dogs and have had three myself in the past, I ask you, even beg you to keep your dogs on a leash as the bylaws and signs clearly state in the “leash on” areas. Your dogs have the run of the BEST beach in Kitsilano over by the Maritime Museum, so there’s really no excuse. Study the sign and notice where the “leash-off” area begins, because then you’ll see it’s not over by the parking lot.
I understand that you just want to give your furry family member the freedom he deserves. I want the same for my non-fury family member. And I know YOU trust your dog. But I don’t. My experiences have convinced me that dogs do not always respond in a friendly manner toward children and that their future behaviour cannot be predicted based on past behaviour.
Dogs are, after all, animals and animals seem to sense fear from a distance, which seems to provoke aggressive behaviour in some. Whatever the reason, I’ve had to hold my daughter over my head to keep various dogs from jumping on her and this was not just once. So here I am writing this.
We love Kits beach and would like to continue loving it without being sniffed, harassed or pounced on by your dog. So please keep your dog on a leash in the “leash on” areas. In return, I promise not to yell at you or kick sand at your dog’s face when he gets too close for comfort. It’s simple really – mutual respect breeds harmonious co-existence.
A concerned father
Last modified: May 10, 2011