While we have an off-leash dog park in our neighborhood, I rarely utilize it. First, it is literally a hole carved out of a hillside and therefore when it rains, it becomes a catchment system for collected rainfall and run-off. One day of rain and the park is a mud pit that doesn’t dry out for weeks.
Because of the amount of standing water and some park users refusal to pick up after their dogs, it has become a cesspool for bacteria — specifically giardia easily transmitted to dogs who simply walk through an infested puddle. I have known a number of dogs who have suffered through giardia and that alone has kept me from the park when it is the least bit wet.
Next, a number of professional dog walkers often take their dogs to the park in large packs. While 3-6 dogs in a pack is understandable, I’ve often seen vans crammed with 15-20 dogs barking excitedly off-load at the park. There are times when I’ve seen 2-3 of these vans all at once, easily filling the park with 30-40 (or more) dogs. While I understand the need to make a living, when such large packs run in the park, it’s difficult for a dog-owner to enter with one dog. That dog is often seen as a target of the larger pack and it can quickly become dangerous and deadly for the lone dog.
I realize people have worked hard to clean up (and dry up the park), but the location and size of the park limits any efforts to make it a safe, friendly, and accessible place for neighborhood users. I also realize very little will change in terms of location, but it would be wonderful if park users could follow some basic rules of courtesy.
- Clean up after your dog (in the park and outside of it)
- Limit the number of dogs you bring to the park at once realizing that the larger your pack, the more powerful their influence is on each other.
- Exercise your dog BEFORE you go to the park. I realize this may seem counter intuitive, but dogs who have not released their excitement through exercise, bring that excitement into the park and often unleash it in inappropriate ways.
Thank you for your efforts in this area.