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.

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