Courtesy lacking

Dog owners should allow room for others to use local sidewalks and trails

This letter is directed to the lady that was walking her German shepherd on Government Street sidewalk north of the Carmi intersection.

This dog was on a long leash. The owner and dog took up both sides of the sidewalk with the leash blocking the middle. When asked to rein in her dog to give me room to pass, the surly reply was that “the dog has every right to the sidewalk” and I was to get onto the street out of its way.

This was clearly outrageous and impossible due to street traffic, so, fearing a confrontation with the dog, I dodged behind the bus stop bench until the way was again clear and the obstreperous woman had passed. As she did pass, she instructed me to “stay home” if I was afraid of dogs. Regrettably, her measure of contempt for regular pedestrians is not entirely exceptional among dog-walkers.

Many people have been bitten by dogs, almost everyone has been threatened at some point, and a few unlucky ones mauled. Those savaged can never feel free of fear when approached by loose or long-leashed dogs, particularly larger animals.

Moreover, many people, possibly most seniors, can no longer use the elegant walkways such as that of Penticton Creek because most dogs, perhaps 60 per cent, are off-leash and bound everywhere.

We are forever seeking ways to make our city a more agreeable place. It does not, therefore, seem unreasonable to expect all dog owners to respect the rights and concerns of the vast majority of others. Common courtesy and adherence to established bylaws is not too much to ask.

Rosemary Thomas