Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Comment Left about Point Pleasant Park & Poop


A James Dunsmore left the following comment on my post about "Further on my off leash diatribe"

It is a problem that there is litter all over our public parks, and poop is a big part of that problem. You seem to be arguing that because the parks are already dirty, it's ok for them to be dirtier. How about you come patrol Point Pleasant to enforce the bylaws. I walk there daily, and daily I see and smell poop, I am approached by dogs without their owners, and I witness dogs running at will through the wooded areas of the park, which have just been replanted with 72000 fragile seedlings. What I witness daily are dog owners who treat their dogs like people, but have no regard for the actual people who share the park. When your three year old retrieves their ball from the edge of the trail, and presents it too you with dog poop all over it and themselves, perhaps you will be as disgusted as I. I believe the park should be first and foremost for humans to perhaps share with dogs, but by no means should it be off-leash, and it was a huge mistake to ever make it so. There is no effective enforcement of the animal control bylaws, and subsequently they are not followed. The privilege of owners to allow dogs off-leash in this public area should be revoked without hesitation and permanently.


There's a couple things here, I'm glad he left the comment because there's a couple points he raised that I'd like to address, and I also don't think he gets what I was trying to say - or at least he wasn't really listening to what I said in my posts.

I am certainly not saying that litter is okay, or that dog owners not picking up their poop is okay. That would be a ridiculous statement to make. I am a responsible dog owner and I always pick up my dogs' poop. I am also a responsible citizen and I do not litter. I always use waste receptacles provided for me my the municipal government, and if none is available I take my litter home with me. And when I'm out in the woods or at the beach I will very often pick up OTHER PEOPLE'S litter and take that to a garbage can or home with me as well. Especially if it's a piece of rope or buoy booty (you'd have to be a very long term reader of this blog to get that reference.)

So I'm glad Mr. Dunsmore left his comment so I can clear that up - I am certainly not saying that dirty public spaces are okay.

I do however have a problem with Mr. Dunsmore's contention that Point Pleasant Park should not be off leash. I pay the same taxes as he does - there are a lot of green spaces in this city that he can take his 3 year old child to, and there are very few green spaces we can take our dogs to off leash legally. There is also a very nice amount of space at Point Pleasant Park that after 10am no dogs are allowed on - he can very easily spend his daily walks with his 3 year old child there and never encounter another dog again at Point Pleasant Park - onleash or off.

I think it is time as dog owners that we start to push back. We have been bullied long enough - by the bureaucrats at City Hall, by non-dog owners, by people who don't like dogs - our dogs deserve to have a certain quality of life - we pay the same taxes as every other citizen of this city. We are responsible dog owners - we cannot control the irresponsible dog owners - all we can do is continue to act the same way we do every day and hope that they will start to follow suit.

There will always be people who don't follow the rules - assholes own dogs too. Just like assholes buy Tim Horton's coffee, just like assholes throw away their tires by the side of the road and pee in water bottles and then throw them away too.

We CANNOT allow the world to dictate the quality of life of our companion animals - we must tell the world how our animals are to be treated. It's time we stand up and say there are compromises that can be made - but our dogs are not going away - and neither are we!

7 comments:

  1. Anonymous11:59 AM

    Joan,

    I couldn’t agree more. I’m sick of the dog haters in this city feeling that they own every park and every single piece of municipal grass.

    I have a dreaded BBD (Big Black Dog) who is on a leash 99.9 per cent of the time when we’re on city trails or in parks and I STILL get glared at by asshole daycare workers out with their 20 kids tethered together and shrieked at to stand to one side and not breathe for fear the big black dog will bite their heads off when we pass by.

    Or the seniors who call the Herald when a big dog looks twice at them at Point Pleasant Park.

    Or the assholes who practically knock us over when they go by on their bikes -- but give US the stink-eye for having the nerve to also be on the (multi-use) trail.

    And for the guy with the three-year-old -- how many playgrounds are there in this city (where dogs are banned)? A gazillion? At least? Give me a break.

    Well, they can all fuck right off.

    I’m a responsible dog owner who picks up her dog’s crap and doesn’t allow her to disrupt anyone else’s enjoyment of a trail or park.

    I say ban the dog haters, seniors and toddlers.

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  2. Anonymous12:40 PM

    And one more thing ... I'm also sick of how heavy-handed the city is with declaring the places dogs are not allowed EVER. And some of them make absolutely no sense, except that some weirdo at HRM is clearly just getting their jollies running around and nailing up those signs with the dog and the line through it.

    Case in point #1. On Cobequid Road on the way to Waverly, there's a little -- and I mean little -- strip of grass on the left-hand side beside one of the lakes. This strip is SO small -- just a few feet along the road and about as wide as the shoulder of the road. Kids like to jump off the rocks into the water there in the summer. Anyway, that teensy, tiny strip of grass has a no-dogs sign on it. WTF?

    Case in point 2: There's a field behind the library in Sackville that I have never seen a soul on -- winter, summer. Never. But are you allowed to take your dog on there before 10 a.m. like in other place? Nuh-huh. Assholes.

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  3. Anonymous9:32 PM

    Well said!!!!

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  4. Sorry but I've got to comment on the PPP issue. I take my dog to that park almost every day & I've got to admit that I do not enjoy it ! I can not enjoy the beauty of the park because I have to be constantly alert to where I am walking. I am so tired of walking in dog shit !!!
    People that take your dogs on your morning jog....slow down & keep an eye out when your dog takes a crap. Cyclists..same thing !! People..come on !!! Your dogs DO SHIT ..Please clean it up !!!
    It's the so-called "responsible " dog-owners that take away our doggie rights at the dog-friendly parks. I have stepped in so much dog shit this year.... I HATE YOU !!

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  5. I'm with anonymous - they can fuck right off! Take your kid to the 100's of other places you are freely ALLOWED to if dog shit so offends your delicate sensibilities. Oh, you shouldn't have to huh? You should be able to go wherever you want with your kid. Yeah, well right back at'cha. I should be able to take my dog to a PUBLIC park.

    I (very thankfully) live in the country and was taking my new pup to PPP for a while to help with socialization. I am a responsible dog owner and as such it is my responsibility to make sure she knows how to act properly in any setting. The more time I spent there, the more I started to notice the hostility toward dogs in a (gasp!) public place. Now tell me dog haters, how do you expect me to properly socialize my dog so she won't bother you if I can't expose her to lots of different situations to train her? I am NOT going to hide away to do that, I'm just not and I guess those who have a problem with it will have to find a way to get over it.

    I had some enforcement person chase me down one day at PPP because she thought she was going to write me a big ticket.

    "Where's your HRM dog tag?" she asked.

    "I'm not a resident of the HRM"

    "Can you prove that?"

    and I had to show her my drivers licence and then I was warned to always have proof of where I live or I'd get a big fine.

    Yeah, right. WTF is wrong with the HRM? You are treating all dog owners like criminals and I am pretty damned fed up with it.

    Anyway, sorry Joan, I am ranting but I know you understand just how horribly frustrating this is. My dog is part of my pack and she goes where I go. Thanks goodness I live in the country where Alice can run freely in the woods and get to be a happy, well adjusted dog. If HRM and those who have a problem with dogs had their way she'd be miserably tied to a dog house some where and that makes me sick to even think about.

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  6. Anonymous3:21 PM

    i am sure some of you can come up with a better idea than me. I think you should all take turns going on a specified day with surgical gloves and garbage bags. Pick up one bag full or something. The public will see a dedicated bunch of dog lovers willing to work to keep something that means a lot to their dogs.
    Sir as for the 3 year chasing a ball to the edge of the park and bringing it back with dog poop , thank God it wasn't a pricked finger on a dirty HIV needle, or something else along those same disgusting dangerous lines. my mother had to worry about me as a child working in the garden and the cats crapping there.
    I suggest a volunteer work group organized, named, & they clean the park/s on a regular basis for an hour or so each week. People volunteer for other stuff why not volunteer for your dogs.

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  7. Linda1:50 PM

    After going to PPP for 44yrs, and with several sets of dogs here are my observations:

    1. I've stepped in dog pooh once. I've picked up other people's dog pooh many times, it takes all of a minute. Heck the bags are free now, no more need to buy my own. Sometimes we just have to pick up after the selfish folks to keep a good thing. Winter seems worse than Summer, but at least the poop is frozen.

    2. There are on-leash and no dogs areas. If you dislike dogs stay in those.

    3. If your dog doesn't get alone with other dogs keep it leashed in the on-leash areas. If you can't do that pay the dollars to get your dog trained properly to be around a pack, safely. Don't blame the off-leash dogs for approaching your on-leash dog. It is you to blame for bringing a dangerous dog into the off-leash areas.

    4. When people with a stroller express concern about your dog(s) being off leash, politely inform them of where the no dog and on-leash areas of PPP are. Being rude to them, or pointing out their negligence in reading the bylaws only results in them being aggressive in trying to get dogs ban from the park. It is my experience that most who were unaware that the park has different zones were happy to be informed of the same. Most also apologized for assuming I was in the wrong.

    5. When joggers run right at your dog and then huff as if to say 'dumb dog' let them know that dogs are not as smart as humans who move when something is blocking their path. Hopefully the jogger thinks about it.

    6. Try to keep in mind that there is enough park for everyone. We just have to try to be a community rather than an us vs them. There is plenty to live for, and a peaceful park for all should be high on the list.

    7. There are tons of sports arenas, ball fields, walking parks and trails that do not allow dogs off-leash or at all. Let people know that everyone needs exercise to help save our health care system, and for those of us who are not into sports PPP is the perfect place. We want our dogs with us for security, plus to keep them healthy and fit too.

    8. WRITE THE POLITICIANS ON MASS! There is crown land galore around that isn't being used, yet the government is very reluctant to dedicate some of it for usage by dog owners. Politicians at all levels go on and on about people needing to keep fit, but they only appease the needs of those who like sports. There they invest millions of dollars yearly.

    To clear cut, level, sod, and fence off a few places around the city for fenced dog runs doesn't cost a fraction of what one sports arena cost to maintain (let alone build).

    Not only can dog owners get exercise with their dogs, they can also socialize with other owners, helping to build a community.

    Heck setup an agility area where owners can train with their dogs. Who knows Nova Scotia may turn out a champion or two which may lead to increase in tourism and events coming here.

    I think a perfect example of what can be done is the Lions Sandy Lake Park. The part that is for people only during the Summer months is PERFECT for dogs. A shallow, sanded beach area, with a plan Jane sodded field with benches for people to sit on. Doesn't cost much, but the health and community development benefits are huge.

    Write, write, write, write. Drive those close minded politicians nuts until they do something for us.

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