Editor’s note: An unedited version of this letter was sent to Squamish council and copied to The Chief
We should aim to make our trails, beaches, lakes and rivers accessible for everyone.
Off-leash dogs especially pose a threat to individuals who have injuries, disabilities and those who are allergic to dogs.
Should a bear or cougar be present, dogs off-leash are a risk to themselves, owners and everyone on the trails.
Furthermore, dogs off-leash cause harm to the natural environment. Fecal matter left behind by dogs is an environmental pollutant and human health hazard. Fecal matter can contain harmful viruses, parasites and bacteria, such as E.coli, giardia and salmonella, which contaminate complex soil and water systems.
Dog poop is much more likely to be left behind if the dog is off-trail or out of sight.
Also, dogs running off-trail destabilize environmentally sensitive areas, which require short and long term strategies for protection and conservation.
A designated fenced-in dog park should be proposed as an alternative. Dogs should only be allowed off-leash in a controlled fenced-in area. This allows others to be on the trails without fear of being attacked by uncontrolled dogs.
Family members, friends and pets have been attacked and injured by dogs off-leash in public spaces throughout Squamish.
Please help prevent these incidents from happening in the future by enforcing the current bylaw that requires dogs on-leash at all times in public spaces.
Dogs should be kept on a leash at all times to keep everyone safe. The District of Squamish has an ethical responsibility to keep the people in the community safe, while also protecting the natural environment. The leash bylaw needs to be enforced through education and fines.
We sincerely appreciate all of the responsible dog owners who walk their dogs on a leash and pick up excrement.
Ueli, Carlotta, Margot, Erika and