Garnet Saunders, in his letter in the April 17, 2013 issue of the Sooke News Mirror, makes a valid point about the disturbing amount of dog feces in Whiffin Spit Park. The amount of poop on or near the main trail detracts from the beauty and enjoyment of this very special place in our community.
I frequently take my dog to Whiffin Spit Park. When she is off-lease, I keep a close watch and pick up after her. The majority of dog walkers do the same. Unfortunately, there are less responsible (lazy?) dog owners who do not clean up after their pets. Their behaviour is frustrating and annoying. It may eventually lead to the banning of all dogs in public parks in this community, as has already occurred on school properties in Sooke, or it may result in restriction of dog walking to a few designated areas.
I believe that the onus is on responsible dog walkers to address the dog feces problem on Whiffin Spit and throughout Sooke. A two-pronged approach is recommended:
1. When we see that a dog owner has not picked up after his or her pet, we need to politely but firmly request that he or she do so. We can explain that failure to pick up may well result in loss of access by dog walkers to parks and other public areas; and
2. Be prepared to pick up feces even when our dog is not the source. This action is not as disgusting as it might seem at first. Yesterday I picked up some Beagle poop on Whiffin Spit which the owner, a perhaps absent-minded person, had failed to notice because she was walking about 150 metres ahead of her two dogs.
Dog ownership is a privilege and a responsibility – not a right. All dog walkers in Sooke need to take action to ensure that this privilege is not lost.