Letters to the Editor: Off-leash dogs and their oblivious owners a serious concern

Janet D’Arcy suffered a number of injuries after a dog that was off leash ran into her bike while she was cycling on the Martin Goodman Trail in May of 2019. Photo: Submitted.

Re: ‘Unleashed dogs focus of city campaign,” News, Beach Metro Community News, Aug. 22.

I read the article with a mixture of interest and resignation. This has been an ongoing issue for many years.

One early morning in May 2019 an off-leash dog caused an accident when I was riding along the Martin Goodman Trail (MGT) just east of Lee Avenue.

My guess is that it likely saw a squirrel, but who knows – dogs are dogs. As a result of that accident, I fractured and dislocated a finger, fractured my orbit, had a tiny brain bleed and a concussion.

I was off work completely for two weeks and did not return to full time work for three months.

My bicycle frame crumpled, my glasses were wrecked and my helmet was ruined. That accident was costly for me. The dog was fine.

The gentleman who sustained a fractured pelvis in 2021 didn’t get off so lightly.

Since that time, I have become hypervigilant about off-leash dogs, occasionally having words with their owners.

Not surprisingly this rarely goes well, and I will admit that when someone blows me off or is otherwise rude to me, I have attempted to school them on the error of their ways.

On bad days this has devolved into the use of a few curse words. These have not been proud moments for me.

From these experiences, I have come to the conclusion that there are two kinds of dog owners who let their dogs off leash where they shouldn’t.

One, is the owner who thinks it’s ‘other peoples’ dogs that cause these accidents, and that they don’t need to abide by the rules that the City of Toronto has put in place.

The other type of dog owner is the one who just doesn’t care about other human beings (or other dogs). Being oblivious is not an excuse.

I don’t think there’s anything that can be done other than to fine these people because nothing else is going to change their behaviour. I see the same people day after day, year after year, with their dogs off leash. I almost feel like I know them…

Dog owners will care about a $365 fine, especially if the fines start to stack up.

In past years, I have contacted our city councillors’ office and invited the staff member I dealt with to come and join me for a coffee one morning along the Martin Goodman Trail by the lake to see the extent of the problem.

They declined my offer… in the interim, not a day goes by where I don’t see an off-leash dog down along the Boardwalk and MGT, accompanied by their oblivious owner.

Janet D’Arcy

Was this article informative? Become a Beach Metro Community News Supporter today! For 50 years, we have worked hard to be the eyes and ears in your community, inform you of upcoming events, and let you know what and who is making a difference. We cover the big stories as well as the little things that often matter the most. CLICK HERE to support your Beach Metro Community News!

Click here for our commenting guidelines.

Leave a Reply