People should take precedence over dogs

I feel the need to weigh in on the discussion of allowing dogs in our public parks. I am an animal lover and like dogs but I feel it is too often the case of one rotten apple spoiling the whole barrel. I have on many occasions witnessed (or worse), dogs being allowed to poop in public and their owners not cleaning up after them. Or, dogs being allowed to run loose and being too aggressive around people. The dogs are feeling playful but often times unsuspecting people are uneasy around them.

I can't count the number of times I've seen a situation like this but will share two of them:

One time in Garfield park my two young children were running around in the grass playing. A young woman brought her unleashed dog into the park. At one point it ran up barking to my toddler and bowled him over. The dog wasn't being mean but it sure scared the heck out of my little boy. We very kindly mentioned to the young woman that dogs weren't allowed in the park. She ignored us and not too long afterwards, the dog was laying a big dump in the middle of the field. I asked her if she was going to pick it up. She said she was but then slunk off to her car and left, leaving the mess behind.

On another occasion I had my kids in Scenic Park. A woman and her pre teen son came walking down from Greenbriar with their elderly unleashed dog. They made a very slow loop through the park, at one point stopping while their dog walked to the middle of the grass and left a big mess. I asked the woman if she was going to pick it up and she said she didn't have anything to take care of it with. They then finished their loop and left. I'm certain that with their slow pace through the park their intention the whole time was to bring the dog to the park to do it's deed. I should mention that this mess was left in the same location my boys were just moments before rolling down the hill. If we had shown up half an hour later there's a good chance they would have rolled through a fresh dog mess.

Most of the time the only evidence left from visiting dogs are their uncleaned messes in the parks. I feel it's unfortunate that as a frequent user of the parks with my now three young children, I have to be concerned about them accidentally stepping or rolling through a dog mess. Even with laws currently not allowing dogs in developed parks, this is a concern of mine. I think it's logical to assume that the problem would get worse if dogs are allowed. I just feel that the concerns of people and especially children should outweigh the concerns of dogs or dog owners in this instance. Especially since there are a number of alternative places for dog owners to take their dogs.

David Hess


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