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Letters: How much freedom should dogs have? The debate rages....

The response to a letter we ran last week arguing dogs should be allowed on beaches was overwhelming, with arguments on both sides. Here's a sampling:
Last week, a West Vancouver resident wrote that dogs should be allowed to roam more in public spaces, like how things were back in “beautiful” 1969.| Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd./DigitalVision/Getty Images

Last week a West Vancouver resident wrote a letter to the editor arguing that dogs should be allowed on beaches in West Vancouver, just like they were back in the good old days. He went so far as to say dogs should be allowed in pubs and restaurants too, and we all would be better off if we stopped quoting bylaws at each other and started enjoying more freedom. 

The response to that letter was, predictably, quite emphatic on both sides of the argument. Here we've collected a sampling of some of the messages that came in response to that first modest proposal.

RE: Letter: Dogs Should be Allowed on the Beach, in Pubs, in Restaurants….

Dear Editor:

I am always frustrated to hear when an entitled dog owner believing that their life choice, owning a dog, has to be tolerated by everyone else in society. Why can’t dog owners understand that some people do not like, trust or want to be close to dogs? Does that the logic apply to drinking, smoking and making any sort of noise wherever one wants to? Of course not.

I personally have seen dogs defecate on the beach, run over people’s blankets spraying sand everywhere, barking excessively, as well as chasing, scaring and charging at people including my own daughter, who was two years old at the time. Dogs have been banned in some public spaces (you wouldn’t know it looking at any grass playing field on the North Shore), because there are enough bad dog owners that simply do not care about others’ well being. Just like this letter writer.

Matt Henderson
North Vancouver

Dear Editor:

It’s not 1969. Things have changed and while your story about the dog at the beach not bothering anyone resonates, it’s also true that not every owner is responsible with their pet and if it infringes on another person’s rights, it isn’t OK. Hence the bylaws.

Christel Schmidt
Ravenwoods, North Vancouver

Dear Editor:

I see nothing wrong with a leashed dog sitting on the sand enjoying the day with his family. The dog beach is great for off-leash, large, energetic dogs but not for those who are small, timid or elderly. Also, I would love to be able to walk my small senior leashed dog on the sea wall (some parts of it, at least). The path next to the tracks option is ridiculously stupid.

My biggest wish is to be able to take our dog to restaurant patios. We are always cited “health concerns” yet dogs are allowed on patios practically everywhere else we go, especially in California, and should be allowed here. In Europe, dogs can be inside restaurants and on trains. Who is actually responsible for the no-dog-on-patio rule here? In my opinion, it should be changed.

Marjorie Bath
West Vancouver

Dear Editor:

If it were not for the countless, and I do mean countless, thoughtless dog owners who refuse to pick up their animals’ poop left in public parks, sidewalks, roads and trails I would agree with you.

David Simpson
North Vancouver

Dear Editor:

Dogs are man’s best friend, supposedly so. But dogs are treated like outcasts: not allowed here, not allowed there. I frequent Ambleside beach, as I have lived in West Van all of my life, and would rather have dogs on the beach than screaming kids who often run around unsupervised and are permitted without any bylaws to maintain peace and quiet.

Give me dogs any day….

George Harding
Ambleside, West Vancouver

What are your thoughts? Send us a letter via email by clicking here or post a comment below.

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