July 10 - 16, 2016: Issue 271

Unleashed Dogs In Wildlife Areas: Owners Clearly Don't Care Who They Scare

White-faced Heron in Careel Creek as three unleashed dogs and owner walk past 
As you watch this white-faced heron, photographed Thursday morning, July 7th, you will notice it sees something going from right to left behind the bird-photographer, whom it's not too worried about, and edges itself further up the trunk of the tree it's standing on to get away from this something.

What this bird is seeing is three dogs off the leash and clearly is scared and attempting to put more distance between them. The owner of this three clearly didn't care that the bird was being scared by her canine companions and although they may be passive gentle dogs who would never chase a bird, the bird's reaction indicates that another 'wisdom' has been learnt by the feathered creatures who live here.

Even if you choose to disregard the signs everywhere indicating you must leash your dog, and the fact that it is law that dogs must be leashed in these areas when walking beside creeks, or kept out of them altogether when they are sanctuaries adjacent to the estuary, surely dog-walkers must realise their five minute jaunt for their furred lovelies is going through another's home. Perhaps they could consider how they would feel if an animal known to frighten dogs was given free reign to have a five minute jaunt through their dog's backyard or home.

Would you be so blasé and uncaring then?

Once at the end of the track beside the creek the owner decided to put one dog back on its lead before starting down the 'yellow brick road' into Avalon, but unfortunately another dog owner, with her dog off it's lead, was entering this path behind Barrenjoey High School to give her dog five minutes free reign in terrorising yet another creature in its home because she clearly didn't give a damn either.

Having witnessed one owner urging his Alsatian to go into the creek and chase birds, laughing while it did, or two other dogs in the creek chasing ducks, with no owners in sight for this two dog hunt pack, people may wonder if ours is the last generation to see these other residents of Pittwater living among us.