FACE TO FACE: Is enough being done to control pooches and their poo?
When I was a lad, we kids played touch football daily on a little sloped park down the block. It usually took us 10 or 20 minutes to remove all the dog poo before we could play. We took turns bringing a little shovel. But we never got it all and our jeans and runners always ended up smeared with smelly dog excrement.
Today, society has largely cleaned up the dog poo in our communities because, for the most part, people clean up after their pets. How did we accomplish this? Not with draconian bylaws but by appealing to the responsibility of dog owners, by erecting signs and by supplying bags for owners.
So, having been the loving owner of the cutest cocker spaniel ever (God rest Maggie's soul), I still ponder the on-the-leash, all-the-time, everywhere dog bylaws in the Tri-Cities.
On those few days on the inlet trail in Port Moody when the walking public was sparse enough for us to let Maggie off her leash, I remember the glee with which she ran exultant through the bush, chasing squirrels and loving life.
Yes, that's a confession: I let her off the leash - and I'd do it again.
Poor Maggie's doggy liberty was expunged, lost to a bylaw written for a bunch of snarling, aggressive, slobbering Hooches (and that's just the owners), intimidating both Maggie and the humans trying to enjoy a day in the park.
So Maggie was sentenced to the awful, mucky, off-leash runs that are an eyesore, full of huge, aggressive dogs of which our happy little bundle of friendliness was terrified.
It's ironic that my Maggie-hating colleague supports government control of our pets and their feces but not our guns.
Of course, the comfort and safety of the public is paramount, and allowing huge dogs with Vise-Grip jaws to run around amidst the kids at Blue Mountain Park or White Pine Beach is probably not reasonable.
But maybe the "aggressive dog" designation could be accompanied by an "adorable, friendly, non-yappy" dog designation, which would have allowed my wonderful dog to blissfully gambol off leash for an hour or two?
OK, you win. It would never work. Unless you knew Maggie.
Face to Face columnist Jim Nelson is a retired Tri-City teacher and principal who lives in Port Moody. He has contributed a number of columns on education-related issues to The Tri-City News.