Several Port Alberni dog owners are looking for more places to take their dogs off-leash.
Port Alberni resident Kim Dewey was in front of council chambers on Oct. 15, asking the city to establish an off leash trail for dogs and their owners for a short trial period to see what kind of feedback is received.
“I know it’s very common for people to walk off leash with their dogs in certain areas,” she said. “It would be nice if we made it official in some capacity to avoid confrontations on the trails.”
Stirling dog park, located off the Kitsuksis Dyke trail, is not suitable for her smaller dogs, she explained. One of her dogs was bitten during an interaction at the park, leading to a more than $1,000 vet bill.
Dewey added that she wants to be able to enjoy walking and biking the city’s trails, which is easier to do without a leash.
“I’m always looking for places where it’s not going to be an issue with [the dogs] being off leash,” she said.
Another Port Alberni resident, Ellen Frood, stepped forward to speak in support of Dewey’s request. She explained that she has also had to stop taking her dog to the dog park after attacks from other dogs.
“It is not suitable for all animals,” she said. “There is a lack of rules and regulations around how things operate and how it’s monitored.”
She suggested that the city work to create a more responsible dog park.
Mayor Sharie Minions thanked both women for their suggestions and said council would talk to city staff to determine the next steps.
According to the city’s bylaw department, Lower Dry Creek Park is also considered to be an active off leash park.