Since 2002, the Township of South Dundas has had a bylaw requiring all dog owners to have their dogs leashed at all times when they are not on their own property.
“We need to make people aware that this bylaw exists. They’re still not getting it,” says Shirley Gillmor who has been advocating the use of leashes, especially in the Morrisburg waterfront park, where she and her dog fell victim to an attack last August.
Her leashed Yorkshire Terrier was attacked by an unleashed German Shepherd. Gillmor’s dog Bruiser was killed in the attack and Gillmor was injured. The owner of the Shepherd faced charges stemming from the attack.
The attack happened at the Morrisburg waterfront, near the Docksyde, which is a very busy place.
Gillmor now walks her newly adopted dog Daisy at the Morrisburg waterfront, and on a regular basis encounters unleashed dogs and oftentimes the owners tell her not to worry, their dog is “friendly”.
Last week, one of those “friendly” dogs approached her and her dog and it was growling. “My thoughts were, Oh God, not again! My nerves are pretty-well frayed at this point and I’m angry and frustrated. What do I have to do to be able to walk my dog without fear of being attacked?” says Gillmor.
Gillmor has been working with the township’s bylaw enforcement officers in an effort to ensure that people are aware that this bylaw exists for the protection of all who use the park.
Regardless of temperament, every dog that is in the waterfront park not on a leash is contravening the bylaw.
While South Dundas bylaw enforcement officials do try to have some presence along the waterfront to inform dog owners of the bylaw, it is generally enforced by complaint.
In an effort to raise awareness of the existing bylaw, according to Donald Lewis, manager of planning and enforcement, they plan to add six new signs to the waterfront area to make users aware that all dogs must be on a leash and that owners must pick up after their dogs. Gillmor also points out that, for those who wish to let their dogs run unleashed, there is a beautiful off leash dog park available, right across the road.