To the editor:
I live near Crawford and walk in the local parks almost daily and am also increasingly affected by off-leash dogs in what are supposedly on-leash parks.
I love walking the trails and ridges, but have started to avoid them out of fear as the dog problem continues to escalate. Mission Ridge Linear Park in particular has become bad—I have been threatened, held at bay, jumped on, bruised, scraped and even bit.
Owners assure me their dogs are ‘friendly’ or rationalize that ‘he’s just a puppy,’ or the classic, ignore me after calling desperately for their dog who is bounding towards me barking frantically. It can be terrifying at worst, and frustrating at best. My children are afraid to walk with me. Considerate dog owners who do leash their dogs, are often also bothered by the off-leash dogs.
In many cases people will drive to our neighbourhood and let their dogs out of the vehicle without a leash, and thus we have also had dogs running into our yard and down the street. My son was also threatened by one such dog while walking to school. The owner, who never did apologize, had to pull his dog away from my son who had been backed up against a hedge.
I have been in contact with Bylaws on several occasions, and while they have been understanding, I have yet to see any patrols in the area. I ask anyone experiencing similar problems to contact Bylaws and RDCO and perhaps even Kelowna city hall, so that these parks can be used and enjoyed by all, not just by off-leash dogs and their owners.
Marguerite Veenstra, Kelowna