Leashes save lives part 2

Swans in the water with a dog on the shore

One of the joys of walking along the waterfront is seeing dogs who are also out for a walk.  Of course, there are all kinds and sizes, each with their own personalities, and increasingly in adorable outfits that bring a smile to walkers’ face.  Dogs need the outdoors and the exercise and no doubt their walks are a high point in their days!

Last week our Blog highlighted ways to make sure domestic cats and wildlife coexist safely.  For Mute Swans, offleash dogs are a much greater threat than cats.

For bigger dogs who need a good run, and any dogs who enjoy bounding freely and playing with new friends, there are a number of offleash park options, that are fenced so both the dogs and the surrounding wildlife are safe.

Still, many people walk with their dogs offleash, or unclip the leash so the dogs can go for a swim or wander into an off-trail area. 

At a minimum, this can stress wildlife enormously.  At worst, it can be fatal for them. 

Last year, I watched a large offleash dog rush towards the water and a family of Mute Swans (pictured above).  Although the cygnets were several months old the father still bravely puffed up, extended his wings, hissed, and moved towards the dog, keeping himself in front of his babies to protect them.  This year, I saw a huge offleash dog swim in pursuit of cygnets who were too young to fly away even as the mother tried to lure him towards her.  And every year there are incidents of offleash dogs catching and killing a range of waterbirds, including swans and cygnets. 

If you want your dogs to have the freedom of being offleash, please let them enjoy the designated offleash areas and keep our wildlife safe.


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