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Resident concerned with unleashed dogs roaming in Englishman River Park

RDN made aware of ‘out-of-control’ canines
(PQB News file photo)

A resident has raised concerns about problems caused by unleashed dogs at Top Bridge in Englishman River Park.

Jo Urbanovitch wrote a letter to Regional District of Nanaimo Electoral Area H (Bowser, Qualicum Bay, Deep Bay) director Stuart McLean to bring awareness to the situation. She also highlighted the number of disconcerting incidents she experienced while walking in the park.

“I have been attacked numerous times as have many friends of mine, by people with anywhere from one and two, up to four unleashed dogs… all out of control,” Urbanovitch wrote. “I have been jumped upon and mowed down by dogs more times than I can possibly count. I’ve been startled by out-of-control dogs barking furiously at me, snarling and snapping, yelping, showing their teeth, etc.”

What frustrates Urbanovitch is the failure of dog owners to take responsibility over their pets’ behaviour.

READ MORE: Parksville beaches temporarily closed to dogs during geese migration

“Their sense of entitlement and unapologetic, dismissive response to being asked to control their dogs is beyond astonishing,” she indicated.

Urbanovitch noted she owns two dogs but never takes them to the park out of respect for wildlife and other park users.

In the past, Urbanovitch has worked along with the City of Parksville bylaw department to have signs requiring dogs to be on a leash. But some dog owners tend to ignore them as well, she said.

Urbanovitch pointed out Top Bridge has become a widespread toilet for dogs in the area.

“There is dog feces everywhere,” she said. “Even hanging bags in the trees.”

What ultimately prompted Urbanovitch’s writing to McLean was watching a dog kill a spawning salmon.

“Its owner, seeming entertained by the slaughter, was filming that whole thing… presumably for his warped sense of amusement,” she said.

Urbanovitch volunteered to help however she can.

“I’m happy to offer whatever I can to assist,” she wrote. “I would love to see RDN parks return to the peaceful places they once were, where wildlife are safe and nature lovers and walkers can enjoy themselves without the constant onslaught of out-of-control dogs and their rude, aggressive, entitled owners.”

The RDN Regional Parks and Trails Committee received Urbanovitch’s letter during their meeting on Feb. 6. McLean presented a motion requesting staff prepare a report that provides clarity on the designation of Englishman River Regional Park and existing dog regulations.

The motion also asked for information as to what actions have been or will be taken to stop access to sensitive ecological areas of the park, to provide options for regulation enforcement of dogs in the park and to update the committee on the progress of Board Motion 22390 Fire Prevention in Community and Regional Parks and 23533 Park Management Steering Committee for Englishman River Regional Park.

“This is just kind of addressing some of the issues that are going on in that park,” said McLean. “And just following up on some previous reports.”

The committee passed the motion.

Michael Briones

About the Author: Michael Briones

I rejoined the PQB News team in April 2017 from the Comox Valley Echo, having previously covered sports for The NEWS in 1997.
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