Saturday, December 17, 2005

Park Dispute Over Dogs In Palm Desert

Palm Desert dogs and dog owners got a reprieve Friday from an impending ban of all dogs from the city's soccer park on Hovley Lane… Dogs are allowed at the soccer park, at 74-735 Hovley Lane, as long as their owners keep them on a leash and clean up after them… The problem is people who don't obey the regulations - possibly the one point of agreement between people on both sides of the issue... "There are a number of people (who) rarely clean up after themselves," said Robert Richardson, president of the Palm Desert Youth Soccer League, which organizes games at the park… "You have to check the field before the kids practice and you invariably find something." Schukart said clamping down on irresponsible dog owners could be a challenge. "Enforcing (the city's leash law) does not work in that park," he said. "We have irate families whose children are in the soccer park, and we have pet owners (with) legitimate issues about exercising their dogs. I'd just like to strike a balance."

Clearly there isn’t enough public space set aside for dog owners in most cities. Thus, dog owners are either forced to exercise their dogs in completely inadequate, unsafe, areas or they go and break the law and let their dogs run free in the open spaces they can find.

If you are a dog owner in many large cities, you probably opt for the second choice: breaking the law.

If we are going to have well socialized and trained dogs, which will help prevent nuisance barking and some types of dog attacks, then we need to start setting aside a larger percentage of that space for dog owners. We also have to realize that many times, the opponents of the dog parks are dog haters, and they don't realize, or don't care, that if they want fewer hassles from dogs, they need to make open spaces for them.

We are already spending the money on the public space, it is just a matter of adjusting priorities.

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