Cameron, a 9-year-old Shetland Sheepdog was banned from using Uplands Dog Park. Miranda Fatur Langley Times

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

(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

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

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley was passed up for a cabinet position by Premier John Horgan. (Photo submitted)
Op-Ed: Modernizing forestry and prioritizing reconciliation

Doug Routley writes on Fairy Creek and Central Walbran Valley old growth deferrals

The log retaining wall that supports the access road to the Ladysmith Community Marina is failing and needs to be replaced. (Cole Schisler photo)
Remediation work for community marina access road expected to be costly

A log retaining wall between the access road and the parking area is failing and must be replaced

Marine biologist Rick Harbo pulls a lid from the Ladysmith harbour, which he uses to monitor the presence of native and non-native species in the Ladysmith harbour. (Cole Schisler photo)
Unidentified sponge may be the latest marine species invading Ladysmith Harbour

Marine biologist finding dozens of alien species in warm-water harbour, none of them threatening

More and more graffiti has appeared in Ladysmith’s downtown core during the pandemic. (Cole Schisler photo)
Council creates rebate program to encourage graffiti clean up

Property owners can receive up to $50 to help fund graffiti removal

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

Most Read