I am writing in response to Carol Morphy’s letter to the editor in the Feb. 21 issue of The Question.
Ms. Morphy wrote that the dogs that walk off-leash at One Mile “know each other and greet each other with joy and enthusiasm.” She also wrote that the old dogs are treated with dignity and respect. What an idyllic and wonderful life for those dogs.
My own experience is far different. I have not walked my dogs at One Mile for over a year. The last time I did, my 10-year-old, 15-pound dog was attacked from behind, while she was on her leash, by an off-leash dog that outweighed her by 40 or 50 pounds. She was picked up by her haunches in the dog’s mouth, and shaken like a rag doll. The resulting vet bill was paid for by my family. While I do give credit to the attacking dog’s owner for sticking around to make sure my dog was OK, I discovered my dog had a puncture wound after I got home. Note to self: when my dog is attacked, ask for contact information even if my dog appears unharmed.
But it wasn’t just about the bill. Myself, my dog, and my other dog that was with me and also leashed, were all quite shaken up by this incident.
To date, my family has paid out more than $500 in vet bills to care for our dogs, attacked in three separate incidents by unleashed dogs while my own dogs were leashed. The other two were in downtown Pemberton. In all three of those attacks, not once did a dog owner offer contact information, or to pay vet bills. Two of the owners, in fact, fled the scene.
Perhaps the real reason the off leash dogs around One Mile enjoy such a wonderful, free-roaming existence is because those of us who choose to walk our dogs on leash avoid the place because we don’t feel it’s safe to take our dogs there.
Needless to say, I am not in favour of turning One Mile Lake Park into an off leash zone. To turn the only lake near town into a leash free area would be unfair to the rest of the population. I am also concerned about the safety of the many children and families, as well as unsuspecting tourists, who use the area.
For all of those good folks who do walk their dogs on leash, I thank you for respecting local leash laws.
Thanks too, to the local bylaw officer for doing his job and working to enforce leash laws. Over time, it will make Pemberton a safer place to own a dog.