Federal agency cracks down on unleashed dogs on Greater Victoria beaches

The Federal government has requested that local municipalities bring their bylaws into alignment with federal regulations by requiring dogs to be leashed on Victoria area beaches.

Cadboro Bay was dubbed the “firestarter” of Federal action in Roxanne Egan-Elliott’s September 24 Times Colonist article. Cadboro-Bay excerpts are provided below, and you can read the full article here.


Federal regulations governing the sanctuary prohibit owners from letting their dogs and cats run “at large” in order to protect the birds, which means dogs have to be leashed while below the high-tide line on all beaches from Macaulay Point to Cadboro Bay.

While a spokesperson for Environment Canada said wildlife enforcement officers regularly patrol migratory bird sanctuaries to ensure compliance, Jacques Sirois, chair of the Friends of Victoria Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary, said rules have essentially never been enforced. Unleashed dogs didn’t appear to be a significant problem until a few years ago, he said

Sirois said in the last few years, a group of people concerned about dogs and declining bird populations in the Cadboro Bay area started to lodge complaints to the federal government, including photos and videos of altercations, most commonly dogs chasing herons.

Cadboro Bay “was kind of the firestarter of sorts,” but similar issues have been noted at Willows Beach, Gonzales Beach and Clover Point, Sirois said.

Jacques Sirois, chair of the Friends of the Victoria Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary, at Gyro Beach in Cadboro Bay. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Sirois said a common argument made by dog owners against leashing their pets is that they never see any birds on the beaches where they walk their dogs, so they wonder why it’s an issue.

The absence of birds is exactly the point, he said.

Read the full article here.

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