It may seem obvious that an off-leash dog tearing down the beach, barking, jumping, and chasing almost anything that moves can cause unnecessary stress to birds. But just try telling that to the dog’s owner.
“My dad takes his dog for a walk and lets it run loose off leash,” laments David Bradley, the British Columbia program manager for Bird Studies Canada. “Why does he do it? He says, ‘Well, I only have one dog and it won’t cause that much of an impact.’
“That’s not the right attitude,” Bradley says. “Think about the big picture.”
According to a recent survey, the belief that dogs are innocuous is pervasive. The Bird Studies Canada team interviewed 245 beachgoers at three popular sites along the lower Fraser River outside Vancouver, British Columbia, where signs are posted and bylaws are in place banning dogs or requiring them to be on leash.
The study revealed that nine out of 10 dog owners are aware that the shoreline sites are important to shorebirds and waterfowl.
Photo: Marcus Benedix/Unsplash