Letters to the Editor

Roaming dogs disturb visitors

I’m relatively new to Seattle, and I visited Whidbey Island for the first time a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed the experience. My husband and I camped in South Whidbey State Park, cycled around the southern part of the island, and visited Ebey’s Landing and Fort Ebey State Park with a few great meals in Freeland and Coupeville. Overall, it was a fantastic mini-vacation from Seattle with some amazing wildlife sightings thrown in.

We saw over 20 bald eagles during our trip, in addition to several hawk species, and were blown away by these amazing birds. However, we were so disappointed that other visitors to the state parks and national reserve did not follow the clearly posted rules about keeping dogs on leashes, and we saw numerous eagles scared away by the dogs of irresponsible pet owners.

We then brought my parents here a week later, on vacation from Texas, and they were similarly excited about all the bald eagle sightings (plus a harbor seal at Deception Pass State Park!), nice people, and great restaurants, but again, we were sad to witness many more dogs off leash in the state parks and reserve. The signs clearly indicate heavy fines for unleashed dogs, so I just don’t understand why people didn’t respect that.

It’s not a pointless rule; those regulations are in place so that wildlife will not be harassed or disturbed in preserved habitat. My family and I are long-time dog owners, so I realize the importance of allowing your pet to get a good run in, but the protection of wildlife in designated areas should be respected.

I hope to visit Whidbey Island again soon.

Becky Beard

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