Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dog Parks

We subscribed to the weekend newspaper the other day when students were going door to door trying to sign people up. I like knowing what is going on around town, and I find it very hard to find that information in the online version. For example, tomorrow at the zoo is a kids sing-a-long where the kids get to play instruments and have fun... awesome.

The article on the front page reminded me why I hate to read the paper though.  It is about my favorite dog park over by UAA. I don't take my dogs to off leash parks often because they have a dog pack mentality and will tend to get a bit too far away for my comfort, but when we do take them I prefer the UAA park.  There are only five off leash areas for dogs in Anchorage. The article is about all of the problems people are having with the UAA park and they are complaining it should be shut down.  I understand some of the complaints, parking is ridiculous over there and should be taken care of (as far as I know, there are only 8 designated spots...), and I do know that not everyone is a responsible dog owner and cleans up after their dog. That doesn't mean everyone should suffer for the mistakes of a few. There are clean up days at the park where volunteers go and clean up a ton of trash and dog poop, but it is still a problem.

The main concern is APU land borders the dog park and they are unhappy with the way it is being used. It is marked that your dog has to be on a leash and should be kept off of the soccer field, however, that is part of the loop around the lake and very few people do that. I'm guilty of letting my dog stay off leash on that side, but I do keep them close to me and not on the field. The new APU president is kind of being a bit rude about it... saying dog park users can't even use the parking lot of a building after hours, even though it is an office building that doesn't have anything going on at night. I feel like if he were willing to compromise on some things, the city would be more willing to help him out. You catch more flys with honey, I believe the saying goes. The president has also complained that people have been attacked at the dog park, but no reports have been filed. I agree that this is a major problem. We have encountered dogs at dog parks that are NOT friendly to other dogs, or people, and that is a problem. Those owners should be cited and not allowed to be there. Again, don't punish everyone because a few people are stupid.

The other complaint about the dog parks is that joggers, cyclists, and walkers are having to use other trails because they don't like having to deal with the dogs. I don't mean to sound rude, but I don't care about this. There are SOOO many trails in Anchorage, it is amazing. These parks aren't the nicest trails (and I don't believe this is only due to the dogs), nor are they really in the most convenient areas. Five places to lose to dog parks is a drop in the bucket of trails here. It always amazes me how un-dog-friendly our town can be considering the sheer amount of dogs there are. There are plenty of places for everyone to run, bike, ski, etc. There are very few places for people to allow their dogs off-leash play. I could see if the city decided to make 50% of the trails off leash, even I would think that would be excessive.... but it is probably more like 5%, if even that. Grow up and learn to share people.

I've run into people on these trails (mostly while skijoring) that clearly hate dogs. They are rude to me and complain about dogs on the trail. I'm sorry, I'm on the ONE trail that allows dogs here. There are at least 20 other trails within walking distance. If you don't like dogs DON'T be on the dog-friendly trail, jerk. And I understand not everyone can like dogs, there are dogs I don't like, but I don't make a point to get in their way and complain about them. People are so weird.

So basically, I hope that the city can find a viable solution to the dog park problem. I would hate to see the most loved dog park in town shut down because of petty complaints and a few irresponsible people. Alright, off to walk my dogs and head to work. I hope everyone is still enjoying their long weekend!

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