A GUARDIAN READER OPINION–
By North End Neighbor
Observing the behavior of dogs and their owners as a resident of a home across the street from Boise City Park for nearly 30 years, I am angry and disgusted by the relatively recent proliferation of loose dogs in the park. They displace children and game activities on the ball diamond; the dogs run wildly at great speeds in their games of fetch; and their owners leave excrement in the most egregious and blatant manner at a frequency beyond the comprehension of any person with a sense of sanitation or forethought . Their compliance and their manners STINK.
My gravest concern about imposing restrictions in the Foothills (which I wholeheartedly support) is that their numbers will increase in City parks. How realistic is it to imagine that enforcement can change the behaviors of people who express heated outrage at limits that might impose the citizenship caveats they won’t assume on their own volition in City parks, let alone open spaces?
Given the limitations of enforcement (only partial and temporary improvements at this park), I insist that any protective services redirected to police people and dogs be offset by a fee equal to the fiscal demands of added patrols in the places they frequent. The citation fines are random and apparently not enough of a deterrent. Designate more dog parks, too. (But one woman running her dog told me she doesn’t like the dog parks because they reek and there are too many dogs. Could I make this up?)
What might the public response be if humans defecated in parks, or if 65 pound child ran full speed toward toddlers, knocked them down and sniffed their body parts? Who wants to inform Sunset or Outdoors publications that mountain bikers’ safety is secondary to dogs’ spiritual fulfillment?
I sympathize with their dilemma, but fear that the interests of people who don’t own dogs and believe that parks and public lands spaces (unless designated otherwise) will be set aside in a short-sighted reaction to the shrill and ENTITLED voices of individuals who believe that their virtuous dedication to dogs and dogs’ happiness supercedes the rights of humans. (Who, I should add, don’t necessarily dislike dogs but can foresee the cruelties of keeping large dogs in urban settings where “walks” must suffice for the inborn desire to roam. And who don’t ascribe the anthropomorphic characteristics of “socialization” to dogs’ growling and rough play. How many of these kind-hearted folks have seen what a farm dog does to a raccoon?)
Animal Control is Missing in Action every where.
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May 22, 2008, 4:32 pm
Dave… hard to disagree with the writer of this opinion.
As is ALWAYS the case, a few bad apples spoil it for everybody.
A few irresponsible bicyclists make all cyclists the object of resentment on both road and bike/pedestrian path. (A situation I’m all too familiar with!)
A few vandals cause formerly-public facilities to be closed to the public.
A few punk kids make us old people view ALL kids with a general air of suspicion.
And a few clueless dog owners cause restrictions to be placed on all dogs and their owners. That’s just the way it works, unfortunately.
One day, I saw a punk kid walking his dog downtown, on Jefferson Street. His dog paused, squatted, and took a dump in the middle of the sidewalk. As they sauntered away, I asked him, “Aren’t you going to clean that up?” He looked at me momentarily, then his attention was gone and he strolled on. (I would love to have thrown his dog’s mess at him – I was HOT!)
Too bad dogs get restricted on account of their idiot owners.
Question… the English bulldog in the photo – friend of yours? (I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for that breed; they’re the best!)
May 22, 2008, 8:30 pm
From experience, this only gets worse. My previous city went doggie happy in the mid 90’s. We wasted hundreds of thousands on doggie parks and the populace decided that Spot’s rights to run free topped the rights of next of kin in the communities largest cemetary so that became a mine field of doggie-do. My neighbors decided their dogs had a perfect right to use my yard as the WC. In short, unless normal citizens insist on adult behavior from dog owners, they WILL organize and produce enough political juice to destroy most parks for non dog owners, not to mention down town areas like the market or greenway paths.
Either fine the heck out of violators or charge enough of a license fee to cover the costs of cleaning up after spoined dos and gtheir equally spoined owners. If we don’t we will all be sorry.
May 22, 2008, 11:18 pm
Well, North End Neighbor, you might as well go ahead and admit you don’t like your mother, you hate apple pie, and you think immigration is an overblown issue.Even t6hough you bring valid points to the discussion, I think you may take a little bit of a verbal beating here.
May 23, 2008, 2:18 am
Somebody say amen! Responsible dog owners need not take offense, it is the other type of dog owner/walker which spoils it for others. And, as someone who has lost a fair degree of hearing may I add that bicycle riders need to dismount and walk in tight places, some of us can’t hear your remarks well enough to take the action you are requesting; and just because you may see a hearing aid doesn’t mean that we’ve heard (and understood)you.
May 23, 2008, 9:44 am
North End Neighbor won’t get any verbal beating from me unless it’s that he/she didn’t go far enough. I propose a dog pooping in public should get the owner a misdemeanor just the same as if the owner had pooped in public, regardless if they pick it up or not. Is not feces, feces? Is dog feces somehow less objectionable than human feces? In any case, let’s dump our human waste in the Boise River again, like old days, and save ourselves that $50 a month sewage fee.
Bikeboy, I’m sorry, I believe you’re inaccurate when you use the adjective “few” repeatedly. It’s MANY dogs that are causing MANY problems. It’s not just the feces, and the running wild off leash, it’s barking too. Don’t forget the attacks on children by vicious breeds, no need to point out the breed’s name, I’ll bet a dollar to a donut everyone knows which breed I’m talking about.
I make this $100 challenge to anyone. Bicycle to any neighborhood, in the North End at least, wait 2 minutes, and you’ll hear some dog barking.
May 23, 2008, 10:58 am
I generally leave my dog at home when I go on outings around town. Exercise for my dog comes from hunting, camping and leashed walk/runs. I believe dogs should not be at the farmers market, Art in the Park or other festivals. On city owned/maintained property or trails, dog owners should expect some rules to make the trails enjoyable for all. Just as we all hate second-hand smoke, we all hate second-hand doggy-poo.
May 23, 2008, 11:03 am
I am not sure with this issue we are only discussing a few bad apples, I think the problem is more prolific. I am a dog owner, dog walker, and dog lover, but I am very much opposed to no-leash areas. Many dog owners are dillusional that their dog can do no wrong, all the proper breeding and training from the owner could not have gone awry, and these dog owners seem to believe that everyone else is a dog lover as well so we automatically tolerate the behavior of man’s best friend. Even in parks where dogs are leashed, irresponsible dog owners allow their dog to run wild on a 30-40′ leash. I have had many near accidents on my bike on the greenebelt due to leashed dogs, I have had my children knocked down by leashed and unleashed dogs, and I had an infant bitten on the hand by a fun loving dog thinking it was playing.
I would agree that the majority of dog owners are responsible, but it is a large minority of irresponsible dog owners, and many do not realize they are irresponsible. In the 5 years I have been riding on the greenbelt and using city parks in SE boise, I have never seen a dog owner get a citation, yet I see violations every time.
The city should not expand leash laws until they are prepared to effectively enforce existing ordinances in our existing public areas.
May 23, 2008, 11:09 am
I have always wondered about the wisdom of keeping a large dog in the city. Now I have finally made up my mind: It just isn’t right. They need more living space in which to roam than a 110 x 100 foot lot.
On the subject of dogs in parks and along bike trails, it seems the controversy arises because of two factors:
1. The number of dogs
2. The poor citizenship of some dog owners
There isn’t a shortage of parks, leash-free parks, bike paths, walking paths, or other open areas. There are simply too many people with too many dogs. If the population density of the area was reasonable, then these problems would be manageable.
May 23, 2008, 11:32 am
Bikeboy is correct in that a few bad apples may spoil it for the rest of the dog owners. As a responsible dog owner, I, too, am disgusted by those bad apples who don’t pick up after their dogs. I sometimes pick up after them because I don’t want them to spoil it for the rest of us. It reminds me of those campers who think it’s okay to trash a campsite and leave their garbage everywhere. !@$*! I guess we should ban camping for all, right?! Wrong!
Let’s look at a couple of points:
Developers have sold families a bill of goods – “suburban living.” This means homes on tiny lots in ‘hoods, most of which have no parks. City leash laws require dogs to be leashed and walked on sidewalks and in parks. Dogs (like children) need areas to run and play! This leaves our parks and foothills. (By the way, the new park in my ‘hood – Peppermint Park – has been taken over as a soccer field in the evenings so that I cannot enjoy it as a dog owner or non-dog owner.)
Non-dog owners, dog owners, and cyclists are ALL entitled to use our parks and foothills, are they not? I enjoy reading the argument that dogs destroy precious habitat. Folks, have you seen what the cyclists do? Some (not all!) ride off-trail, create new bends in trails and tromp on vegetation. Should all cyclists be banned then from the foothills?
Instead of choosing which of the three groups is most entitled, why not recognize and acknowledge all three are equal and all should be entitled to the use and enjoyment of the foothills? Why not address everyone’s needs and accomplish this by allocating the foothills trails into three categories: (i) people only, (ii) people and pets, and (iii) cyclists? Then, to be fair to everyone AND the vegetation and wildlife, rotate the allocation schedule every couple of years?
I suggest this is the best solution all around for everyone, that addresses everyone’s concerns, and meets everyone’s needs and desires without depriving any one particular group.
How’s that for an intelligent compromise?
I also suggest that rude, out-of-control, off-trail cyclists be fined, too, for habitat destruction.
Otherwise, if we just ban dogs from trails, we need to ban cyclists and we need to ban camping, too, since a few bad apples should deprive all the rest from the enjoyment, no?
May 23, 2008, 11:46 am
Might be the basis for a new song, or an ad for the CoC yahoos: “Boise! Where the smog is thicker, the roads are slicker and the feces is piling up!”
Or maybe a special K9 emissions control check and consequent tax stamp for each pup based on size and breed. The new test stations could also serve as a whole new revenue source and growth industry right here in the promised land. I’m certain that that would be just as effective as the current vehicle emmissions tax.
May 23, 2008, 6:06 pm
I didn’t read anything about hating mom and apple pie. I thought the author was talking about irresponsible dog owners and the fact that Boise City Code is for all dogs to be leashing in parks, not to mention for the owners to pick up after them. Cyclops must have just recently immagrated here.
May 24, 2008, 10:19 pm
I’ve been looking for a place to weigh in on the “dog issue.” I’m not a user of the foothills trails but I do enjoy the Farmer’s Market each Saturday, lunch at Satchell’s Grill with the great free music and all the things that make downtown Boise such a special place. What irks me is to see a so-called dog lover with his/her dog or dogs trying to maneuver their way through the foot traffic while their dog is forcing people to dance around, check for dog poop in the street, or tolerate the barking that usually ensues when one dog meets another. What makes dog owners think its a good idea to bring a dog from his familiar home into a place crowded with strange people, strange smells, strange animals, etc.?
There are signs at the end of each block saying dogs are not allowed but these fools bring their pets anyway. Shouldn’t they be ticketed? Who has authority to enforce the ban? Police or the organizers of the market?
May 26, 2008, 12:42 pm
Dog Owner proposed an “intelligent compromise” in post #9, but it will be ignored by 99% of Boiseans, and by 100% of those who govern us.
My tolerance for being governed is rapidly evaporating.
May 26, 2008, 7:11 pm
Yes Boise Accident of birth which you had no control over, so why do you think it is such a big deal, I did, indeed, immigrate here recently.
I believe it was 36 years ago, so I am sure I am not worthy of an opinion here. The reference was made because of the response by dog owners about the possibility of having the foothills “leash only”. Surely you must have read about it. It has been in ALL the papers. Anyone who speaks out against the mess our little furry friends make, is destined to take a verbal beating every where but here. Try it on the rags website someday.
May 26, 2008, 9:30 pm
Where is it in any city charter, any statement of citizen rights, or any other concept of citizenship that a persons hobbies rate special treatment in allocating resources. No one has a right to use city property in a manner that is to the detriment of others simply because they desire to own a pet. Their pet rights end at their property line. If they want to run fido, buy a farm. Don’t expect fido’s little surprises to be welcomed by other folk who also have a right to use the parks without doggie mines.
May 27, 2008, 8:21 am
In response to JIMV, you suggest that those who want to run Fido should buy a farm. Well, that’s a wonderful suggestion that is 50-year’s too late. Have you noticed our subdivision landscape in this valley and many other cities? The typical family still has a pet dog, but the typical family can no longer afford to buy a farm. And homes aren’t being built on much land anymore(often 1/4 acre or less.) Have you noticed these changes?
May 27, 2008, 5:17 pm
Dog Owner, I believe what JIMV was relating was that too many people have too much dog for their property and then feel its their right to inflict said dog on the rest of us. Those who put large dogs in small living conditions are not being fair to the dog either.
May 28, 2008, 6:50 am
Like Dave here, I have a foo dog. A little white dog to keep me walking everyday. He poops in my yard before we take a walk, but he often will poop again while on the walk – there is no stopping that kind of thing. BUT I always have a few pooper bags in my pocket and pick up after him.
Off leash? There are people who’s livelihood is holding dog training classes promising that you will be able to walk your dog off leash. If there are leash laws on the book in this city are they not promising to teach you how to break the law? These classes are often held at Ann Morrison Park.
May 28, 2008, 7:23 am
I hate the dog poop at the Depot, the Parks, in my front yard (not from my dog as he goes in the back). Dogs run around down my street without a human and when I call Animal Control they never come!
From Scotch Pines Dog Training, lesson number 8 handout:
“REMEMBER: A DOG WHO MUST BE KEPT ON LEASH IS NO MORE THAN A SLAVE. WORK HARD TO ELEVATE YOUR DOG TO THE TRUSTED STATUS OF FRIEND!”
Got that just last week. My little buddy stays on leash due to laws, traffic, and consideration for others. Not always in that order.
May 28, 2008, 9:18 pm
Hey there Chet Parker. The Saturday Mkt actually rents the area for the hours that the Market is open and running (as well as a bit of time before and after allowing set up and take down), so they certainly can enforce the no dog rule, but would rather that people would be able to read the signs (not well written) and be responsible human beings.
Well, it is quite obvious that THAT is not going to happen. If you think that it’s bad for the folks going to the Market or in your case, just being on 8th Street, try being a vendor…
People parking themselves and dogs in front of the one’s booth making it difficult for customers to make a purchase; dogs peeing on the booth or pooping in front of the booth or having a dog fight near the booth. A real draw for someone trying to do business.
Sometimes it feels as if Saturday Market is no longer a place people go to make a purchase, but a place to show off the dog – or is it put on the dog. Anyway, it’s gone to the dogs! The vendors are making less each week…. dog owners are a part of the problem.
May 29, 2008, 11:03 am
“In response to JIMV, you suggest that those who want to run Fido should buy a farm. Well, that’s a wonderful suggestion that is 50-year’s too late. Have you noticed our subdivision landscape in this valley and many other cities? The typical family still has a pet dog, but the typical family can no longer afford to buy a farm. And homes aren’t being built on much land anymore(often 1/4 acre or less.) Have you noticed these changes?”
Demographics and home ownership have changed so now non dog owners must put up with doggie mines on public property! Or worse, be expected to pay taxes so Fido can poop where ever his owners desire!!…Sorry, your rights to your dog end on our property line, not the middle of my yard.
May 30, 2008, 11:46 am
When did we become a populace of doghaters? I grew up with loose dogs, dog poop and all. Even teachers welcomed some loose dogs at schools — the regular visitors became our friends.
Boise introduced leash laws after we moved to Idaho some 40-plus years ago — however Boise city limits hadn’t reached where we lived then and loose dogs joined the sometimes loose horses, cows, cats and other creatures in our semi-rural neighborhood. Dogs on leashes — ours and others — joined family outings into Boise and in general appeared to be welcomed. The daily newspaper published happy photos of dogs and their owners playing Frisbee in city parks despite the leash laws — some of those photos were probably by Dave.
Somewhere along the line, there was a reduction of dog owners and a proliferation of cat owners. As dogs have resurfaced as frequently-owned pets, there seems to be little tolerance for what was once a part of life — even within cities.
Is it because there is an expectation of a sanitized idealized life? Or are we all just grumpier than we used to be?
May 30, 2008, 9:49 pm
Anne: We are grumpier than we used to be. My spouse and I sometimes comment on how things have changed. No one carried little plastic bags to pick up dog poop. We figured it was good for the soil and if someone stepped in it – well, that wasn’t the end of the world.
We also didn’t have “play dates” for our dogs (or children)and we mostly left them (the dogs, not the children) in our back yards or living rooms but would take them with us to run free at Sandy Beach (or whatever it is called these days.) No one would take a grumpy dog out into the general public because it would be a lot of work keeping them under control. I haven’t owned a dog in many years because it looks like way too much work these days.
I think a lot of people younger than me think their dogs and children are way too special and don’t care if they are a pain in the butt – kids and dogs – to everyone else.
Of course, I had an injury from a neighbor’s dog a few years ago that cost me a lot of money and loss of the ability to walk for a couple of weeks, and one of my adult children had her face ripped open by a “rescued” German Shepherd, which caused much pain and lots of money to repair, so I now am very concerned when I see a dog off leash.
Jun 4, 2008, 4:02 pm
The day will come when we will enjoy dogs and cats like the Orientals do.