A pair of rambunctious young hounds are a pleasure for visitors of a Campbell River dog park, but a pest to those living nearby.
Abby, 1, and Duke, 2, are majestic tree hounds. Their floppy ears, long faces and character make them a delight to watch play, but for a mom whose house backs on to the Penfield West unleashed dog park, their baying has become too much to bear.
“I’ve been living here for three years, and this has been an ongoing issue,” the fed-up mother, who has asked to remain anonymous, said.
Living in such close vicinity to a dog park, she said pups playing and barking are to be expected, but it was the ‘incessant’ howling of the two young hounds which caused her to finally complain.
“They bark and howl constantly for two straight hours sometimes,” she said. “As someone that lives here with a small child who naps at the time of day they tend to show up, I find it inconsiderate.”
Payton Macdonald said she has been taking her young pups to the park since December. She lives south of the city in the Stories Beach, and noted Penfield West is the only place she can leave her animals, who have a lot of energy to burn off, off-leash.
“I’d like to take them out in my area, but one part is too close to the highway, and the other part is all bush, and as hounds they will smell something and run.”
She was approached on Thursday, by a bylaw officer, who told her a neighbour had complained about her animals, and explained the animals needed to be under control or she would no longer be welcome at the park.
“I get it, my hounds can be loud, but they’re not the only ones making noise there,” she said. “Dogs get excited, and they like to express their feelings.”
She made a point of noting they are not aggressive at all.
Director of Community Safety for City of Campbell River Peter Wipper confirmed an animal control officer on contract with the city had investigated the incident after some complaints.
“Occasionally dogs will bark the odd time at the dog park when they get excited, but these hounds were incessant,” he said. “They wouldn’t stop, and we can’t have that, as it creates a disturbance which is against our regulations.”
Over the years, Wipper said these issues come up every now and again, but are often resolved quickly.
“Our animal control officers do this on a regular basis, and it’s part-and-parcel with living in a city.”
Penfield West is one of two off-leash areas in Campbell River, the other being an agility park in nearby Willow Point Park. However, the latter is primarily intended for training animals.
Wipper said as the city grows it is going to need more off-leash areas.
“It’s a great place to socialize your animal, and they’re very popular in so many communities.”