Cameron, a 9-year-old Shetland Sheepdog was banned from using Uplands Dog Park. Miranda Fatur Langley Times

Cameron, a 9-year-old Shetland Sheepdog was banned from using Uplands Dog Park. Miranda Fatur Langley Times

Dog banned from B.C. dog park for ‘excessive’ barking, running

John Levesque, 67, and his dog Cameron, were banned from the Uplands Dog Off-leash Park in Langley.

Barking, running, and playing are activities expected to be seen at dog parks.

But a local man and his nine-year-old Shetland sheepdog, Cameron, are banned from Uplands Dog Off-Leash Park for doing just that.

Last Thursday, John Levesque was hand-delivered a letter from the City while he and Cameron were playing at the park.

“It [the letter] says myself and my dog are banned from Uplands Dog Park for six months. What happens is he [Cameron] runs along the fence. Doesn’t bother people, doesn’t bother other dogs, or kids,” explained Levesque.

The letter states,”Your dog Cameron’s excessive barking and your inability to keep it under voice command while in the park has led to this ban.”

Langley City director of engineering Rick Bomhof, confirmed a dog park visitor was given a letter under the Parks and Facilities bylaw that banned both owner and dog from using Uplands Dog Park for six months.

Bomhof said the ban is the first time it’s happened in the City that he’s aware of.

“We don’t want to restrict people,” said Bomhof.

“It’s when it’s consistent, you lose your enjoyment if the dog is not under control. There’s a certain expectation that you will manage your dogs’ activities in the park and not create a nuisance to the neighbours.”

According to Bomhof, the complaints came from a resident adjacent to the park, and City staff also observed the dog’s behaviour.

For Levesque, who moved to Langley two years ago, Uplands Dog Park has given him a sense of community.

In 1974, Levesque went overseas to the Middle East as a peacekeeper after the Yom Kippur War.

Since returning, he suffers post-traumatic stress disorder, and uses the dog park as an outlet for exercise and socialization.

“I went over as a kid at 24, and I came back like a man of 45. I’ve seen things I should not and I still see them in my mind,” explained Levesque.

My social circle and my rehab is going there [dog park] and talking with these guys, walking for an hour. It allows me to be in a safe place. When I come home I feel good, invigorated, energetic, happy. I’m looking forward to tomorrow morning.”

A group of friends that Levesque made at the dog park want to get him back in the park as soon as possible.

Dog park regular Layne Pennington called the ban “ridiculous.”

“It seems ridiculous that a dog running and barking at a dog park is banned. Yes the dog runs up the fence and chases cars and barks, but when John walks around, he doesn’t do it. It [the ban] comes across as the City trying to appease one person.”

Dave O’Brien, who has been coming to the dog park for eight years said he’s “seen it all.”

“The minimal amount of barking that happens here with the hour he’s [Cameron] here, does not fit the crime. It’s got to be hard on him [Levesque] to be sitting at home right now with no one to talk to.”

After consulting with Bomhof, Levesque’s ban was reduced to two months.

But Levesque is not satisfied with the agreement, because he said a condition of his return is that Cameron must be leashed until they reach the far west end of the dog park.

“It’s an off-leash dog park. One dog has to be leashed. He’s under twenty pounds, he wouldn’t hurt a fly. It has to be one standard for all. If it’s an off-leash dog park, it’s an off-leash dog park,” said Levesque.

Bomhof said he recalls the leash requirement was the owner’s suggestion “as a compromise and it seemed reasonable.”

“The main premise here is that every dog owner must be in control of their dog at all times so as to avoid issues like this or conflicts with other dogs. If that means a person needs to keep the dog on a leash in certain areas of the park then we expect them to do that,” explained Bomhof.

Levesque believes one neighbourhood house has been targeting him, as he and Cameron were also banned indefinitely from using the small-dog section of the park in 2017 for the same reason.

“They’ve ruined it for me and I don’t know who else. If I’m not there – who’s next?”

Levesque and his dog park friends are hoping the ban will be lifted before the two months are up.

“It shouldn’t be a ban at all. It shouldn’t of come to this. The City needed to deal with the homeowner in their own way,” added O’Brien.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

(left) Layne Pennington, Dave O’brien, and Victor Loski are regulars at Uplands Dog Park and they believe John Levesque and Cameron should not have been banned. Miranda Fatur Langley Times

(left) Layne Pennington, Dave O’brien, and Victor Loski are regulars at Uplands Dog Park and they believe John Levesque and Cameron should not have been banned. Miranda Fatur Langley Times

The area inside the dog park where the fence meets the road is where Cameron likes to run and chase cars. Miranda Fatur Langley Times

The area inside the dog park where the fence meets the road is where Cameron likes to run and chase cars. Miranda Fatur Langley Times

Just Posted

Emma Garriott is releasing her second album titled ‘Sad White Girl Angst.’ (Emma Garriott / Facebook photo)
North Island musician releases second album titled ‘Sad White Girl Angst’

“When you hear it, I want you to feel like your best friend in the whole world is sitting beside you’

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement forecasting windy weather Sunday and Monday. (News Bulletin file photo)
More windy weather on the way for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada issues special weather statement for Victoria, east coast of Island, north Island

Jay Vaughn, Brian Pohto and Janet Pohto opened up the Island Sun’s tuna freezers for anyone worried about food thawing over the four-day power outage on Malcolm Island. (Christopher Hurst photo)
Community shines bright during power outage

Hardest hit areas on the North Island stepped up to keep neighbours warm and fed

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

Most Read