Family defends dog-walking routine
- A Port Elgin family is defending their rights when it comes to walking their dog in the village.
At a recent meeting of Port Elgin village council, Mayor Judy Scott and councillors noted their concern with regards one particular dog in the village.
“This has been a problem in the village for some time now. One couple continues to walk their Rottweiler without using a leash and people are scared to death of it...” Scott had said during the meeting.
However, Leslie and Desiree Goodwin believe that council’s complaints are not warranted, given that whenever the dog, a two year-old Rottweiler named Zayda, is being walked in the village it is retrained through the use of an electronic dog collar and leash. This type of electronic equipment is used to train or maintain control of a dog’s behaviour through the use of vibrations, tones or moderate electric shock delivered to the animal via a dog collar by a hand-held device.
Desiree Goodwin said last Friday that neither she and her husband nor any of her four children were aware that the dog was causing a problem for any village residents.
“I was surprised (to find out that some residents may be scared of her dog). The RCMP did come to see us and the issue at that time was us leaving her outside because before they put the (Green Wing Trail) path in (beside their house on West Main Street) she was able to walk all over there; she wasn’t used to people walking up the path all of a sudden...we said definitely, if we’re not home we will keep her tied, we will keep her out back; she won’t be left out if we’re not here,” Goodwin said, adding that she and her husband thought the issue was solved.
She added that on a subsequent occasion, about four to six weeks ago, the RCMP spoke with them again, noting that there had been some lingering issues about the dog.
“He asked us if we walked her using an electronic collar and leash and we said ‘yes, we’ve done as you asked us to’, and he replied ‘OK, I’ll let the village know.’ We thought that was the end of it,” she said.
She noted that, although the dog is wellbehaved, as a puppy they enrolled her in obedience classes, where the dog trainer advised them to use the electronic dog collar and leash. Goodwin said although she and her husband enjoy walking with the dog in the village, she’s now hesitant to do so.
“I don’t even want to walk her anymore because I feel like I’m being watched by everybody; they think we’ve got a terror....we’re also really upset and concerned that people think we’re being defiant about all this, and we really are not,” she said.
Mayor Judy Scott responded that the village is not trying to single out anyone for not obeying Port Elgin’s dog by-law, however due to the number of calls the village has received from local residents, they have been forced to continue to address the issue.
“We were told that one village senior citizen was walking the Green Wing Trail and the dog was walking right at the back of her legs and it scared her,” she said.
Scott noted that Port Elgin Village by-law number 97-3 states that ‘ all dogs must be on a substantial leash or quality restraining chain or rope when outside of the house or properly built pen’.
“Really, it’s not personal, but people are calling in complaints and we have to deal with it,” she said.