Saanich dog advocates hope to get a ‘leash’ on trail etiquette with new videos

Saanich dog advocates hope to get a 'leash' on trail etiquette with new videos

A society based in Saanich has launched a new series of videos, in a push to educate people about proper dog etiquette on trails and beaches and in parks.

CRD DOGG Society (CRDOGGS), which advocates for off-leash dog spaces, says the series “Who’s a Good Dog” was produced by Zoe Anderson, who’s been working with canines for more than a decade.

Anderson says the videos are meant to engage the public, offering simple ways to understand “various scenarios we all encounter with our dogs.” She adds that good communication on trails and controlling your dog “is key.”

CRDOGGS says it formed in August 2023 after Saanich council voted to reduce the number of off-leash spaces for dogs, despite pet owners “coming forward in every related council meeting and through hundreds of letters to offer suggestions and concerns about the upcoming changes.”

The society says thousands of locals were “left in shock” by Saanich’s “abrupt decision” to reduce the number of spaces significantly.

Amid public backlash, which included a petition against the proposed changes, council eventually walked back on its People, Parks and Pets strategy.

Additionally, an amendment to the strategy included a retractable leash ban.

Saanich’s new animal bylaw was later passed on Nov. 6, 2023, with 56 parks remaining as leash-optional, and an additional 43 parks allowing leash-optional activity between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., according to a backgrounder document.

The document states, among other changes, that dogs must be on a leash at PKOLS (Mount Douglas Park) except in select areas, while all beaches outside of the Victoria Migratory Bird Sanctuary remain leash-optional.

At the time, CRDOGGS’ director Trish Fougner was slightly relieved, telling CHEK News, “I shouldn’t say we’re happy; we’re at about a C+ right now.”

READ PREVIOUS: Saanich walks back People, Parks and Pets strategy that sees off-leash areas reduced

With the video series now playing, CRDOGGS president Eulala Mills says the society is excited to support education about responsible dog ownership.

“Of course, our main objective has always been to preserve off-leash spaces in Greater Victoria, and we continue to do this but not without reminding everyone that being kind and being responsible goes hand in hand,” said Mills.

CRDOGGS says its members have organized various initiatives, including park clean-ups at PKOLS and, most recently, an ocean clean-up at Island View Beach.

Along with pushing for off-leash spaces, the society says its goal is to support responsible dog ownership and park management. It also wants to ensure “good governance best practices are the basis for decisions and policy development.”

One of CRDOGGS’ videos is online here, and to watch the full series, people are encouraged to purchase a $25 membership via this form.

Meanwhile, Capital Regional District’s “Cruise with Courtesy” campaign runs from July to September and promotes increased enforcement during the busy summer months, when more people use the trails it operates, like the Galloping Goose.

READ ALSO: E-bike collision on Greater Victoria trail comes weeks before CRD relaunches safety campaign

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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