Time for Steff to vent... The town that I'm living in has decided to make their entire beach area off limits to dogs due to the "lack of picnicking space" for families. In this writer's most humble opinion, that is total and utter garbage. About a month ago the local paper printed off the city council meeting notes so that the residents of this town would be aware of what their representatives are doing for them, and one of the major "issues" they decided to address was the dog area down at the public beach. I kid you not, they called it an issue. Their reasoning...families need more space to picnic. Are you kidding me?! There are tables EVERYWHERE, and very rarely have I ever seen them all full. Many families enjoy being able to bring the family pet with them to the beach, it ensures that everyone gets to come out and have a good time and prevents dogs from being locked up on beautiful, hot sunny days (regardless of how few and far between they've been lately).
The council also reasoned that there were "several reports of dog bites" last year. I read the paper when it comes out (which isn't hard to do when it's printed once a week and is a whopping five pages long) and I can honestly say that do not recall reading about any dog bite incidents at the beach in the weekly police report last year. I did however happen to read a "Letter to the Editor" from some grumpy citizen (probably either a council member or close friend of one with the way things go around here) who thought that the dog area down at the beach made our town seem less appealing, how it was something that no tourist would want to see. I have this to say to you: As a southern Minnesota import to the northland, I found absolutely nothing wrong with dogs being allowed in the beach area. I did not find it unseemly and I most definitely did not find it unappealing. As a matter of fact, I thought it was wonderful that this community was so welcoming to pets and their owners as to allow them a nice space down at the beach for pets to play. So the council voted to make the beach off limits to dogs. Unless of course you wanted to play with your dogs by the boat launch, because that's still allowed and obviously such a safe option for people and their pets. Thank you City Council, how very generous of you.
I have dogs that need to be able to run, and sometimes just getting out for a walk doesn't really cut it. There is a potential solution to this problem, but I think people are nervous to approach it by official means. There is an unused baseball field in town, completely fenced and perfect for animals to really be able to stretch their legs. The city now has bins and waste bag dispensers that are not being utilized since they were removed from the beach. Hmmm...sounds like a problem solver to me! The problem is that no one wants to bring this up to the powers that be, because when you officially ask for something, you can be officially denied access to it. As it stands, many dog owners have already started utilizing this area for their pets and no one is stopping us or complaining about it (to the best of my knowledge), but it is not an official dog park/pet friendly area. It would be wonderful to see it as one. To be able to get a bin and some dispensers, maybe a little water station for the pets, have some of those janky gates repaired and getting the place mowed every now and again would be FABULOUS!
It's sad to see people be so nervous to ask for something as simple as an area for their pets to run, but I understand why. If it gets brought up and shot down, then the area would be officially off limits to pets and their owners and then there would be nowhere for them to go. However, in order to get what you want, sometimes you just need to be willing to take a risk and ask. I mean honestly, who could say "NO" to these faces?! :)