Source: CTV News (Extract)
Posted: July 28, 2022

A new seasonal dog ban designed to protect migrating shorebirds on a popular beach near Tofino, B.C., is being heralded a success by the federal government.

Parks Canada introduced the new, five-month dog ban on Combers Beach in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in April, saying that migratory birds needed a place to rest in between trips from the Arctic to as far as South America.

The ban is in effect from April 14 to Oct. 1, and so far the federal government says it has seen a 32 per cent increase in birds at the beach compared to the same period in 2021.

Parks Canada adds that an outright ban on dogs at the beach was an important step, since fewer pet owners are keeping their dogs on leash this year compared to 2021.

The federal government says leash compliance was about 61 per cent in the national park reserve in spring 2021. Now, however, compliance has dipped to just 48 per cent, according to Parks Canada.

“Off-leash dogs negatively impact wildlife,” said Parks Canada spokesperson Nancy Hildebrand in a statement Wednesday.

“The pilot ban at Combers clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of the dog restriction as [a] management tool,” she said.

According to Parks Canada, fines for having an off-leash dog in a leash area start at $58 for a first offence, while repeated offences can lead to fines of up to $25,000 and mandatory court appearances.

The organization adds that Parks Canada staff and local police are patrolling the area to enforce the seasonal dog ban at Combers Beach.

“Compliance with the law is the best way for dog owners to continue to be able to enjoy the privilege of bringing dogs into the national park reserve,” said Hildebrand.

The seasonal dog ban applies to the Combers Beach area between Sandhill Creek and Green Point Rocks. The ban also includes the Combers Beach Trail, and the boardwalks leading to Combers Beach from Green Point Campground.