Allow dogs off leash in Sea to Sea and Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park

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I am petitioning for Sea to Sea, Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park, Sooke Potholes and Galloping Goose Regional Trail to be amended back to its previous bylaw of dogs off-leash only if under effective control at all times.

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My specific concern of the new on leash bylaw is towards Sea to Sea and Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park. Why are these parks considered any different from East Sooke Regional Park and the many others with a bylaw of dogs being allowed off leash under effective control? 

Creating a dog on leash bylaw in these parks will not prevent dog fights or attacks because those irresponsible dog owners will continue to break the rules taking their dogs off leash. If CRD is going to be out in the parks enforcing the new bylaw, they should be ticketing those who have out of control dogs versus worrying about those with dogs being respectful of other trail users.

I along with others do not appreciate out of control dogs ruining the enjoyment of the parks. However, those of us with effective control of our off-leash dogs should not be penalized by those irresponsible dog owners. Dogs that are under effective control should be allowed off-leash on hiking trails in Sea to Sea and Sooke Hills Wilderness Regional Park, and Sooke Potholes.

Perhaps the Galloping Goose Regional Trail could have seasonal leash laws, given the summer season has high traffic, and possibly have an off-leash time frame during this season.

CRD claims dogs are attractants to bears. Food in a hiker’s pack would be an attractant to bears.  A dog on or off leash doesn’t change if dogs were an attractant to bears.

In some places methods, such as “bear shepherding” is used for wildlife management. This involves using dogs to scare off bears.

CRD claims dogs need to be on leash to preserve and protect the eco system. CRD trucks and machines creating new trails and dismantling old trails in the parks disrupt the eco system.

CRD stated one of the biggest complaints they receive regarding dogs in parks is owners not picking up after their dog(s), yet CRD hasn’t issued any fines since 2014. Staff recommended not to supply dog waste bags in CRD parks, saying the cost of supplying the waste bags is about $1200/year. Yet CRD is seeking an additional $100,000 for 2018 to for a staff member to patrol parks.

This petition is to have CRD amend the Sea to Sea management plan and bylaw from dogs on leash to dogs allowed off-leash if under effective control. Effect control to include no dog owner allows their dog to approach another trail user, dog, or wildlife. The park should be for all recreational users to enjoy and this include the responsible off-leash dog owners.

Map of Sea to Sea: