Monday, August 21, 2006

No need to rush into this, k?

The Herald carried an article in today's paper about the pros and cons of dog parks.

A few interesting points:
•"In Boulder, Colo., large dogs have killed smaller dogs at the parks."
•"Matt Claussen, a park ranger in Boulder, said putting a lot of dogs together in a fenced-in area can create a pack mentality."
•"It can be very intimidating. I know of one where people won't go anymore because they say it is so scary."
"Some dog parks in Boulder once had nice tall grass and now are mostly dirt and gravel."

Yikes. This doesn't sound like anything that the city of Grand Forks should be rushing into without giving serious thought to location and design. And to think that if some people around here had their way, a major portion of the Greenway near downtown Grand Forks would already be an unfenced dog park!

I think it's high time the city listens to people on all sides of this issue. Right now, there is a very vocal pro-dog park faction that is trying to make construction of a dog park in the city limits of Grand Forks seem like both an absolute necessity and an emergency. I really don't think it is either. Let's take some time on this and get the design and the location right. Otherwise, we could potentially end up with both unhappy dog owners and unhappy residents.


Conservative Yahoo said...

I hope people don't think that just because "Rover" or "Rovette" are meek, mild mannered canines at home, they can just open the fence and let them go in amongst a bunch of stranger dogs. When you get a bunch of animals , off-leash, mixed together, things can change, and even though they seem like members of the family at home, "Rover & Rovette" are animals.

This whole Bark-park, doggy park, etc gives me mixed feelings. There is nothing like a dog, off-leash, free to run around for awhile, but at the same time there is a responsibility of the owner to prevent things like stated in the article.

JGS said...

No offense, but you're comparing Boulder, CO, a city of about 100,000 which is also NW of Denver, CO to Grand Forks, ND. Now, a bigger dog killing a small one can happen here, but I highly doubt our city would let the Dog Park turn into a dump. Let alone the residents wouldn't let it happen.

But I agree, we need a damn site picked out and designs written up.

Matthew said...

The fact that you are allowed to have a dog without it being trained is sort of dumb, in my opinion. What's the point in having one as a pet if you can't let it run loose, play frisbee with it, or have to be tied to it all the time? If people actually took the time to train their pets, we wouldn't need a dog park--they would be able to play safely in any park.

Rick said...

In a follow up to what Matthew said, I know my dog would not do well with a lot of other dogs. He's a bully. I'm sure I would feel differently if he was trained, which might be a good prerequisite to be in an unfenced, leash-free park.

Anonymous said...

I have yet to hear a concern over the dog park that can't be resolved with proper planning. Dogs interfering with non-dog-lovers enjoying the park is easily resolved with a fence. Clean-up is easily resolved by providing a trash can and plastic bag dispenser. Dog parks are generally surfaced with wood chips because of course dogs running around in the same space would ruin grass (just like in playgrounds). Rules of conduct can address the issue of aggressive dogs (just like playgrounds have rules, so should dog parks). Many dog parks also fence off an area limited to small dogs.

The bottom line is that it takes a pretty responsible dog-owner to put forth the effort to transport his or her dog to a specific park to play, rather than letting them out the back door while watching television. Not to mention, the effort in cleaning up the filthy dog when he or she arrives back home. Responsible dog-owners would take care of the space, just like responsible parents take care of children's playgrounds. It's the irresponsible dog-owners that the opposition should be concerned about; those dogs who are not properly exercised, trained, or socialized pose the greatest risk to the community and those dog-owners are less likely to be taking adantage of a dog park.

I believe that most concerns I've heard voiced about a dog-park are easily resolved with proper planning and so, GFGuy, I agree that a dog park is nothing to be rushed into. However, I feel that most of the objections I've heard are pretty thin and will be addressed in the planning process.

GrandForksGuy said...

I hope you're right, Anonymous. Hopefully when we do get a dog park it will be in the right location and will have the right design.

However, I feel that we can't overlook the fact that any dog park in Grand Forks will draw at least a small minority of users who won't clean up after their dogs and won't treat the park and other dogs/owners with respect. Those are the ones who could ruin it for everyone involved and those are the ones that we have to, unfortunately, spend a little more time planning for. No matter how good most users of a dog park would be at cleaning up after their dog(s), any dog park in Grand Forks will almost certainly end up being an area that sees high levels of wear and tear and that is dotted with piles of smelly dog feces. That is why we have to find a location that is not next to residental or commercial developments and is not on top of present-day park space.

Conservative Yahoo said...

Those minority of users are the same people that leave trash at the playground, never believe little Johnny could be a bully, dent your door in the parking lot, and send their kid to shower at the water park. They will always be there.

Tran's comments at this link have changed my mind about who pays for the dog park. (as much as I hate to admit it :-) )

vcsuvike said...

Well, if you are worried about the dog poop, it's always a job for those teenagers that have community service. They might think more after picking up some poop.