Dogs and their owners deserve better
The article in The Morning Star of July 6 regarding leashing dogs while at Marshall Field requires rereading. It is hard to believe that responsible people would make a decision with such a restricted viewpoint.
Let's compare the reasoning behind the decision to restrict dog access to Marshal Field to leash control only then compare these practices to those of another activity, driving.
Like vehicle drivers, dog owners vary; some responsible some not. When the driver of a vehicle is caught driving dangerously or without regard for others that driver is fined and his or her insurance rate is increased. For repeat offenders the increase in insurance rates soar and their right to drive may be revoked.
When an accident happens do we legislate all drivers be restricted in their use of the roads?
Why not introduce an escalating penalty system to repeat offending dog owners tying the penalty to the registered owners of the dog tags and revoke their right to own or control a dog should the number of repeats become excessive?
In a multi-child family, if one child requires discipline, do we spank them all, why so with dog owners? Why are we all lumped in the same doggie bag?
There can be many causes for dog attacks including lack of exercise, of stimulus or of freedom.
How would you respond to being physically restricted in your movements all day every day? That is the effect with the on-leash proposal.
In the natural state, dogs chase prey, they run and they include running in their play, how can they run and exercise when restricted to a leash, how can they even chase a ball when leashed?
In the past, at Marshall Field, dogs have been restricted to areas that are not maintained, not fenced, have hidden holes, have coarse stocks, are overgrown with burrs and have been the hiding place for coyotes in areas that are shoulder high with grasses that until the week of July 1, 2014 was not even shoulder width and could not be walked without the grasses brushing one's shoulders.
That is why dogs have gravitated closer to the playing fields.
Whose fault is that?
There are many acres of property the city owns at this site that have been left undeveloped. A fence running east - west just north of the old golf club house to the creek, then mowing larger areas of grass would give the dog owners a degree of parity with those using the playing fields while giving those same players the safety they need.
It should also be noted that the playing fields are used a limited number of hours per day for approximately six months of the year. The dog owners I encounter at Marshall Field walk their dogs throughout the day 12 months of the year. It should also be noted that individual ball diamonds are enclosed by fences. Could dog owners be given the same consideration?
If the figures in your article are to be believed, there should be enough revenue generated from the hoards of nasty dog owners to pay for increased enforcement patrols and the small improvements noted above.
Why should dogs and their owners be restricted as proposed by the leash policy when the property is there and has not been developed?
Dog owners, like those using the playing fields, paid the same taxes for the original purchase of the land, development and maintenance as those using the playing fields.
T. Wilson, Vernon