FACE TO FACE: Is enough being done to control pooches and their poo?
Iam no friend of man's best friend.
It's a mutual thing: Dogs don't like me and I don't like them.
So when I'm walking in a public park, I don't want to be sniffed, licked or even barked at by any dog whether it's fierce or friendly.
Is that too much to ask?
If you've been to a local park lately, you know what I'm talking about. Despite bylaws that require pooches to be on leashes, most dogs aren't. Instead, mutts are running around chasing one another, scaring little - and not so little - kids and putting their noses where they don't belong.
Not only do off-leash dogs infringe on the enjoyment of the rest of the park goers but many canines will often trample soil and vegetation, chase wildlife, create sediment in the waterways and leave piles of uncollected, disgusting dog waste.
My gripe isn't with the city governments. Our city councils and bylaw officers have done their best to curb the problem. My problem is with inconsiderate and selfish dog owners.
In 2011, with limited resources, the city of Coquitlam issued just 45 $150 fines to dog owners for breaking the leash bylaw.
But we all know the problem is much bigger.
To their credit, the city governments have also spent money to build designated off-leash parks.
Coquitlam has four designated off-leash areas, Port Moody has four and Port Coquitlam has two.
And these sites don't come cheap. It can cost up to $50,000 or even $100,000 to set up one of these parks plus another $10,000 a year to maintain.
And believe it or not, the doggy lobbyists want even more of our hard-earned money to subsidize their animal kinships. They argue we need more dog parks because the population is growing and the tiny square footage of suites in new developments is catering to empty nesters, many of whom own dogs but no cars.
Am I missing something? If you live in a small apartment, should you really own a dog?
My advice to dog lovers: Love your dogs but love them on leashes or love them on your own private property.
And please, keep them away from me.
Andy Radia is a Coquitlam resident and political columnist who writes for Yahoo! Canada News and Vancouver View Magazine. He has been politically active in the Tri-Cities, having been involved with election campaigns at all three levels of government, including running for Coquitlam city council in 2005.