By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Feb. 28, 2014
Squamish loves dogs, but that may not be the emotion they always evoke in the town’s bylaw officers.
Complaints about dogs are by far the most frequently reported bylaw violation (368 complaints) in the district for the year ending November 1, 2013.
Of these 368 complaints, there were 220 officer callouts, and that usually means a dog at large or a dog trapped in traffic, said DOS spokesperson Christina Moore.
“Right now, we’re in desperate need for off-leash areas,” she said.
Technically, nowhere on public lands in the district is a dog permitted to be off-leash, save for three small, contained areas.
Since 2012, the district has hoped to create eight off-leash dog areas in town.
Some like Eagle Wind and Willow Park would have a fenced off-leash park, while others, like Judd Beach and Merrill Park, would have designated dog-friendly trails.
These are, however, not a priority and there are no immnent plans to create dog parks.
The district planned to launch an information program this year to promote the use of the dog parks, as well as to discourage the use of undesignated areas.
Dog expert Valley Calderoni of the Canine Valley Re-education and Adventure Centre Society said she was rollerblading on the road this summer when two dogs attacked her from behind.
A few bumps and bruises later she confronted the owner who said the dogs were off-leash in his driveway, which was his property.
“I reported four dogs this year, but nobody did anything,” said Calderoni.
Calderoni wants strict enforcement and heavy fines.
“If you get a $600 fine, you’re going to stop doing it (taking out off-leash dogs),” she said.
Dog registration is another issue, said bylaw officer Christine Day. She said in most Canadian municipalities, the number of dogs in the community far outnumbers the number of dogs registered.
Officially, Squamish had 2,173 registered dogs last year, but Day estimates the actual number to be 4,083.
Other dog complaints included noisy dogs, failure to pick up excrement, dogs left in hot cars, bites and dogs being tied up for an unreasonable length of time.