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.

 

(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

Just Posted

Port Hardy council creates subscription-based portal for agendas and minutes

It was a “council decision based on presentation by staff during financial planning budget meetings.”

World Class Hiking Trail For The North Island?

The idea is getting some serious attention.

Provincial grants help communities map, meet housing needs

The next intake for funding is open until Nov. 29, 2019.

North Island Rising: Can the future of the North Island be managed?

Can growth be managed and if so, is now the time to start figuring things out?

Less than a month to go until the Mount Waddington Fall Fair!

The committee is hoping for a record number of exhibits this year

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

Most Read