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Letters, Jan. 6

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Taking care with animals Re: Police dog bites student during class visit (Dec. 14)

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Opinion

Taking care with animals

Re: Police dog bites student during class visit (Dec. 14)

The unfortunate dog attack on a school child could and should have been avoided, had the dog handler and teacher had the forethought to plan the visit carefully. In my decades of experience as an owner, trainer, competitor and therapy dog handler, I also visited schools with my German shepherd dogs. The following points were always my considerations in preparing for a visit.

Well-prepared dog visits at schools can teach children a lot about how to interact with these animals and prevent traumatizing dog bite incidents.

To make an event like this successful and safe, the following points should be considered:

1. The dog(s) should be well socialized, particularly with children.

2. The dog and its handler should be pre-tested by a knowledgeable person before the school visit to rule out any surprising behaviours.

3. The children must be clearly instructed before the meeting on how to interact with an unfamiliar dog. They should learn to first ask the owner what the dog will tolerate, for example, whether the dog likes being touched, and in what way, since a dog might react to an unfamiliar, lunging child with sudden reflexive aggression. A quick interaction between child and handler will give the handler an opportunity to assess the comfort and comprehension levels of the child.

4. The meeting between child and dog must be carefully supervised by a handler who is very familiar with the dog’s body language.

Children frequently do not know how to interact with a dog, thus putting themselves at risk, but well-prepared school visits can teach them there is a safe way. Barring dog visits in schools is the wrong approach, somewhat analogous to staying at home to avoid being hit by a car.

Susanne Olver, Winnipeg

All creatures have their place

Re: Wolf death reveals long-distance travels (Jan. 2)

Had I been that hunter, this particular wolf would be alive. I have been a hunter myself for more than 75 years, providing food for my family.

On my property there is a population of both deer and wolves from time to time. They represent the balance of nature, in that occasionally a deer is eaten by the predator, who has the right to live as well. Sadly, the myth of the “big bad wolf” — that all wolves are evil and should be shot on sight — persists. When will we learn that each living creature has its place and distinctive role in nature?

The folks in Minnesota and Michigan have the right idea. Too bad wolves have to wait until they’re endangered to be protected.

Henry Rasmussen, Kenora, Ont.

Re: Fostering love: volunteer cares for kittens; and Wolf death reveals long-distance travels (Jan. 2)

What a sad contrast in how humans value the lives of God’s creatures. On one side of the page, there is a beautiful expression of love and compassion, but on the other side, there is hunting for sport because it is “legal.”

How unfortunate the wolf ‘s journey ended because it made the innocent mistake of travelling to Manitoba.

Linda Bretecher, Winnipeg

Walk at your own risk?

Re: City urged to boost street safety (Jan. 2)

An obvious reason for pedestrian deaths is not drivers’ mistakes, but pedestrians themselves. They must take responsibility for their own safety when on the streets, especially now with icy roads that limit stopping distance.

Every day, I witness pedestrians crossing streets at crosswalks and intersections without ever looking up from their cellphones; no eye contact ever made with drivers, or waiting till it’s safe to cross. They just assume drivers have seen them and will stop on a dime because they are pedestrians.

As well, crossing in the middle of the road happens all the time, surprising drivers when pedestrians pop out in front of their vehicles. Seriously, it’s amazing there aren’t more deaths and injuries, given how people put themselves in harm’s way.

Parents and schools must take responsibility for teaching common-sense pedestrian road safety. Safety begins with you.

Kevin Dare, Winnipeg

A path less snow-blown

I love the sidewalk snowblowing machines that are clearing a wider pathway and getting most of the sidewalk concrete exposed throughout the neighbourhood. It is a very good improvement, compared to the previous machines that plowed a narrower path. But…

The new sidewalk snowblower machines certainly must have the ability to not blow the snow into every homeowner’s pathways through the boulevard.

This is a disservice to the homeowner.

I’m asking that the operator of the sidewalk snowblower pause the auger of the snowblower at every opening in the boulevard that the homeowner has opened up. Treat each opening as if it were a fire hydrant. We purposely have street crews clear snow for access to fire hydrants for safety reasons. Does the operator of the sidewalk snowblower deposit snow on the hydrant or, does it pause or alter the auger so it doesn’t spray snow onto the fire hydrant?

The same courtesy should be applied to every boulevard opening.

Please stop screwing over every homeowner who has taken the time and effort to create an access point for medical couriers, newspaper delivery, home-care workers, postal services and, more importantly, emergency services.

It is a very small ask to avoid blowing the snow into the opening, but the benefit to the homeowner is welcomed. The snow-blower operators have the ability and the option to do it. Make it a part of the job description to ensure that it happens, please. It is time our snow-clearing services start helping the ones they serve rather than subjecting them to needless and avoidable transgressions.

If you had a neighbour blow their snow onto your driveway from their driveway, you would be certain there would be a confrontation over that method of snow-clearing. Start being a good neighbour and stop filling in the path through the boulevard.

Steve McMahon, Winnipeg

Fans get short end of the (hockey) stick

The NHL is ripping off Canadian viewers. If I were to subscribe to both TSN and SportsNet packages, the total combined cost would be $49 per month. Owing to local blackouts, on Jan. 4 cable subscribers in Winnipeg were denied the opportunity to watch three NHL games, including St. Louis versus Toronto in Toronto, Seattle versus Edmonton in Edmonton and Columbus versus Ottawa in Ottawa.

It is the National Hockey League and not the cable companies that creates this unnecessary and frustrating scenario. Here is the NHL Network’s illogical rationale for doing so: “Blackout restrictions exist to protect the local television telecasters of each NHL game in the local markets of the teams. Blackouts are not based on arena sellouts. Keep in mind that blackout policies and restrictions are different for every sports package that your system may carry.”

This does not appear to be a legitimate reason for blacking out three of the five NHL games involving Canadian teams that were available on TSN and SportsNet. In fact, only the Jets versus Flames game and the Montreal versus Nashville game played in Nashville were available to watch.

In the meantime, it should be noted that each and every CFL game is broadcast nationally.

Rick Lambert, Winnipeg

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