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

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

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

Province bringing 421 new affordable childcare spaces to Fraser Valley

Supporting early childhood educators and creating spaces go hand in hand, minister says

Rude awakening: 1.6-magnitude earthquake rouses residents from their sleep

The quake was detected 3 km east-northeast of Agassiz

Chilliwack Visual Artists Assocation calling for artists to display

Works will be on display at O’Connor Group Art Gallery

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

UBC grad and sister killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures ahead, close friend says

Asadi-Lari siblings Mohammad Hussein and Zeynab were two of 57 Canadians aboard downed Flight PS752

Surrey tells Uber to cease operations in city, but company ‘respectfully’ declines

Ridesharing company told to stop operating within the city by 9 p.m. Jan. 24

Coronavirus concerns cause cancellation of Langley Lunar New Year celebration

Close to 1,000 were expected to attend the annual Live In Langley event on Saturday

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Most Read