Tag Archives: dog parks

Good dogs and their owners

20160911_104215
Lilac wants loads of Worcester dogparks! pics:R.T.

20160911_110930-1
So does Jett!

By Gordon Davis

The Worcester City Council will hold public hearings on the Master Plan for Dogs in what are now people parks and on dedicated doggie parks. The hearing is scheduled for this Thursday, September 15, 5:30 pm, in City Hall Chamber.

Right now no dogs are allowed in any City of Worcester park – on leash or off leash. Some people consider this regulation too restrictive. However, there are reasons that such regulations were enacted: bad doggie owners. There are good and bad doggie owners: The good doggie owners spay or neuter their dogs, keep them up to date on their vaccinations and socialize them. The bad doggie owners often don’t. Lots don’t clean up the shit that their dogs leave behind. I have lived in our house almost 40 years, and I have only seen one doggie owner clean up their doggie’s poop. Most of the time I find the doggie poop on the lawn.

I imagine that most doggie owners, when walking their dogs in City parks, will not pick up their doggies’ shit. Such people are not good doggie owners.

I also know that many people of all races are afraid of doggies. Some like we Black people have been hunted by racists and their dogs. Other people, especially children, have a natural fear of dangerous animals. Even dangerous doggies on a leash sometimes bark and acting aggressively. When a doggie is barking and acting aggressively, a good owner will make the animal heel and shorten his leash and move away from the people being frightened. Sometimes even good owners will instead argue and say “Oh, he does not bite.”

There are about 900,000 reported dog bite incidents a year in the United States. This is more than auto accidents in the United States. It is likely dog bites are under reported. There are around 700 doggie bites in Massachusetts a year!

In 1997 the City of Worcester found out it could not make all dog owners pick up their dogs’ shit. Nothing has been done to ensure that ALL of the dogs’ owners will pick up their shit this time around. This will mean unsanitary conditions in our city parks meant for people … sitting on the grass and having picnics could be a challenge.

There is no plan to stop the dogs, even with good owners, from frightening people, especially children. The people who are afraid of dogs will eventually be driven out of our parks.

I like dogs, but I think there should be a city dog park built on City of Worcester property near Coal Mine Brook. This piece of land was proposed by former Manager O’Brien to be a park with a bike path to Regatta Point. It has not been a people’s park – so people without dogs and who are uncomfortable around them will not be driven out of the area, as would be case elsewhere.

Since Coal Mine Brook will be a dog park only the dogs’ owners can easily impose a clean up your shit rule, and people without dogs will not have to put up with the doggies’ messes.

It was not that long ago the City of Worcester CLOSED Worcester swimming pools with the pretext that it did not have the money to maintain the pools. Of course the children of the city, who are increasingly Black, Hispanic and immigrants, suffered. Today the Worcester City Schools are overcrowded with up to 34 students in some classrooms. The City schools are begging people for money.

It does not make any sense now for the City of Worcester to consider building five dog-only parks at a cost of $400,000. When the Worcester Public Schools go begging?

I think one dog only park at Coal Mine Brook as a pilot would be sensible. I do not think that spending $2,000,000 on dogs, plus annual maintenance, is sensible.

It seems that Councilor Rosen, the dog owners’ champion, has failed to see the larger picture.

On the proposed Worcester Dog Park …

By Edith Morgan

The discussion about a dog park in Worcester has heated up again – and hopefully this time, after all these years, several things will happen. But meanwhile, a few thoughts about the issue.

Worcester is full of thousands of dogs, from the tiniest Chihuahua to the great Dane, from small indoor pets to great hunting dogs, and all manner of breeds and sizes in between.  Many are like family members, and go everywhere with their owners. The great majority are properly controlled by their masters, are in leashes when outdoors, and are licensed and healthy.

But they are all prohibited by city ordinance from being in any of Worcester’s over 60 parks – an ordinance that has been mostly unenforced throughout the years of its existence. A walk in any  of  our major parks will reveal that at any time there are a great number of people walking with their dogs; park events (concerts, festivals, etc.) and other family events usually feature families with their four-footed family members in attendance, and in all the years I have attended these events, dogs of all sizes and age have been well behaved, well under control,  and have been “cleaned up after” by their owners. The very rare exceptions are not really a good reason to punish ALL for the depredations of a tiny minority. I can not think of any human activity that does not have its scofflaws – and we do not usually abolish everyone’s rights just to get at a few….

Our experience with the abolition of alcohol should have taught us how unwise it is to try to legislate away  behaviors that are so popular and deeply entrenched in the culture. We are still suffering from the aftereffects  of prohibition  which did nothing to stem the tide of alcohol consumption in this nation. It merely drove consumers underground, gave arise to organized crime, and made criminals of ordinary people.

Maybe the questions of where dogs can be allowed need to be revisited: we already have leash laws, and require that owners clean up after their pets. We expect dogs to be always fully under the control of their owners. In the years since those rules were passed, I have found there is a great improvement in responsible dog ownership: many people have built fences in their yards, created runs, and increasingly do not leave animals in hot cars in the summer. But dogs have to  be “walked” twice daily, at least, and someone has to follow them and pick up after them. ( I am a cat person, so I have been spared this task, as cats use a box right from the beginning, and only frequent “fur balls” need cleaning up).

Since there is widespread disregard of the “no dogs in parks” ordinance, and I have seen no evidence that the family pets that frequent our parks present any kind of danger to our population, why not tweak the ordinances to reflect the reality: let people baring their dogs, properly leashed and under control, with them when they come out. Provide a dog park well INSIDE GreenHill, and acknowledge and support the existence of Boynton Park as a dog park already. The people who go there have proved respectful and have created a mini-community of owners. Let’s help them, and spread their example.