Letter: response to , “Please keep dogs under control” in January 23 Sounder

Tuesday, February 6 2018

 I was horrified to read the letter last week about a dog chasing and attacking the deer in front of eye witnesses, a truly disturbing scenario. 

 Although this is not the first time I’ve heard of dogs chasing and hurting wildlife, I do not believe that this is the acceptable behaviour for the majority of dogs and dog owners on the island. I had adopted a new dog at the same time I moved to Gabriola three years ago, and worked hard to train her to co-exist respectfully in our new rural surroundings, including not chasing the wildlife, beach birds, local turkeys and farm animals (and/or to walk on a leash when around them). In addition this life skills training, there were also new rules to learn, such as where can she walk off-leash? Do I need a dog licence? Are dogs allowed in the ferry lounges? And who do I call if I have a concern regarding a dog’s bad behaviour? As I was gathering details, I figured I couldn’t be the only one wanting clarity on this information, so created the Dogs on Gabriola website (www.dogsongabriola.com), a community-based, free resource for both visitors and residents. 

 If anyone is confused about the laws regarding dogs here, there are summaries and direct links to local RDN bylaws, Islands Trust Fund Protected Areas (eg. Elder Cedar Nature Reserve) and provincial statutes such as the BC Wildlife Act, BC Livestock Act, BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the BC Public Health Act. 

 And because law-abiding dogs want to have fun, there are also listings on where to play with your dog, where visitors may stay with their dogs, dog-friendly shops and artist studios, dog-specific products, services and art, and a photo submission webpage showing dogs doing what they should be doing here -- having fun on Gabriola!

~ Michelle Sevigny