DOG PARKS: FACTS VS. MYTHS

MYTH: Dog owners want to keep all parks off-leash

FACTS: Most parks in the urban areas should be primarily on-leash and most dog owners agree with this. Dog owners are simply asking for adequate shared or dedicated space on trails and in parks for off-leash exercise.

MYTH: Dogs would be running everywhere and frightening people.

Proposed Dog Park Footprint Within Windrow Park

Proposed Dog Park Footprint Within Windrow Park

FACTS: Dogs would be at the Dog Park, not playing at the playground or soccer field. When dogs are segregated in their own legal space people can choose to be with them or not. Properly exercised dogs make better neighbors than under exercised dogs; animals that engage in vigorous off-leash play are less likely to create a nuisance, bark excessively, destroy property, or learn anti-social behavior.

MYTH: We don’t have any room in the city for dogs and dog owners.

FACTS: With a little creativity, trails and existing parks can be shared by many types of users. San Francisco park district and East Bay Regional Park District have successful multi-user parks allowing dogs either on or off leash. Austin Texas has twelve dog parks. Dogs just need a place where they can romp; dog owners need that place to be legal. It can be public utility land, highway department, community college land and or the unused area surround “dish” type sports complexes.

MYTH: There are not so many people with dogs and needs of children should come first.

Proposed area for proposed dog park in Windrow Park

Proposed area for proposed dog park in Windrow Park

FACTS: Using the U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook and the 2000 Census data, it is estimated that more households have dogs than have children. And of course, many households have dogs and children and they would like to use the parks together. Dogs are faithful companions to people of all ages and these are the people who would like to come to a park with their dog.

MYTH: Dogs are dangerous! We need a comprehensive leash law on all city land.

FACTS: According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (Jan. 22, 1997), the vast majority of dog bites occur in a dog’s territory. These triggers are not present when a dog is in the neutral territory of a public park.

MYTH: If we have parks for dogs, then we will have to make parks for cats.

FACTS: Parks are for people! Citizens and taxpayers want to play with their dogs at the park. They want to throw Frisbees©, jog and picnic with their dogs. And really, no one wants to bring a cat to a park.

Our dog Sputnik, asleep in his bed.

Our dog Sputnik, asleep in his bed after a day at the Dog Park.

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