Consideration sought from dog owners

LETTER: Dogs and owners leaving their mess behind on Okanagan Rail Trail

On CBC’s “Daybreak” program the other morning, there was an item of news that caught my attention. In the Kootenays, there is a trail being constructed from Invermere to Fairmount and apparently it is going to be declared off-limits to dogs. Some of the local dog-owners cannot understand why! One reason given for this ban is that the powers-that-be have heard from the owners of the lands being donated that they have got tired of dealing with off-leash animals worrying other animals, and the high incidence of unpicked-up dog poop. Simply, they do not want dogs on their land, and who can blame them?

Too bad Windermere is so far away! I would love to be able to hike on such a trail, and not have to deal with these problems, which are already spoiling our much-heralded Okanagan Rail Trail. Sadly one cannot walk here with head up admiring the view, as you run the risk if stepping in some undesirable heap on the pathway. More often than not, there is a also a highly-visible line of white plastic bags marking the edge of the trail. I don’t think that dogs are yet capable of pooping into plastic bags by themselves, so obviously the owners have participated, and knowingly parking them there. Can they not read the many signs, and cooperate in keeping this trail hygienic and pleasant for all to use?

Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park is another area where the public’s enjoyment is also being spoiled for many by non-compliant dog owners. Here the problem is more often dogs ranging off-leash.

Many owners do comply, but a large number consider they are exempt. One of the reasons such signs are posted is to protect the natural wildlife whose home this is, but please consider that a lot of people are uncomfortable and nervous when confronted on the trails by an off-leash dog, of any size. Not everybody has the same affection for your dog as you do.

Dog-owners, please be more considerate! If not, you may find a ban being imposed here.

Iain Smith

Vernon

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