On walks along Cadboro Beach I have been assaulted by dogs on numerous occasions. These usually take the form of dogs jumping and placing their paws on my person, walking besides me whilst barking threateningly or both. I will recount the last two events which occurred over the past 10 days.
Whilst walking along the beach in the vicinity of the stairs going up to the intersection of Cadboro Bay Road and Beach Drive, a large dog jumped up at me, I estimate its weight around 30-35 pounds. I asked the owner who was close by to remove his dog to which he replied “It’s only a puppy.” I replied that the dog should on a leash to which he replied that I “should find another beach.”
The second event occurred as I was returning to the beach in my kayak. As I was beaching the bow of the kayak onto the shore a very large dog stood at the bow and started barking at me. Needless to say I remained in my kayak. I called over to two individuals who had other dogs with them and were completely oblivious to what occurring. I called out asking whose dog it was and if it could be removed. One of these individuals told me “calm yourself” and came over to remove his dog. I was calm, his dog clearly wasn’t. These are just two of many such encounters.
Cadboro Bay and Gyro Park are very popular. Although a portion of the beach is off limits to dogs in the summer this rule is ignored. I have noticed dog excrement along the beach on several occasions during the summer on the area of the beach supposedly off limits.
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control there are approximately 800,000 dog bites each year that require medical attention. The Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program reported 1,237 incidences in 1996 where hospitalization was required as the result of injuries related to dogs.
Gyro Park and Cadboro Bay Beach are not suitable for off-leash dogs. I suggest that a parcel of land be set aside exclusively for dogs and their owners.