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Councilors look for ways to speed up development of dog parks across Boston

Arroyo talking about dogs

Arroyo: Social-equity lens needed for Boston dog-park needs.

City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan) says it's way past time for Boston to begin installing dog parks outside the "high income neighborhoods" he says have them now - and that the city should be planning them first, rather than waiting for organized groups of dog owners with discretionary income to push for them.

Arroyo said today there are no municipal dog parks at all in the southwest quarter of the city - West Roxbury, Hyde Park, Roslindale, Jamaica Plain and Mattapan. His district includes a nine-acre abandoned playground in the state-owned Stony Brook Reservation that dog owners worked for several years to convert to a dog park, only to have their plans founder on the stony visage of then state Rep. Angelo Scaccia.

"It's a real issue for dog owners," especially now, in a city growing denser by the moment and with an influx of "pandemic puppies," Arroyo said. Not only do dog parks give dogs a place to socialize and get exercise, they provide a place that keeps dogs away from people who don't want to be ambushed by exuberant or angry unleashed dogs in city parks, he said.

Boston Animal Control Director Alexis Trzcinski said she is all for more dog parks, and also cited separation of dogs from people who don't want to deal with them. She said that while her officers can issue $50 fines for unleashed dogs, she said that ideally, they would couple any fines or warnings with education on why dogs should be leashed while out and about - and that that's harder to do when there are no alternatives, such as nearby dog parks, to point the owners to.

Arroyo was joined by City Councilor Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury), who has seen two proposed dog parks in his district get shot down, one at Millennium Park in West Roxbury, where the city said it could not drill down for supports for required structures because that might puncture the lining that protects the giant heaps of trash buried under the park, and one along the Southwest Corridor Park, where DCR announced plans, then just gave up on them.

Parks Commissioner Ryan Woods said the city has money in its budget to build a dog park at Smith Field in Allston and that he has begun to talk with residents about a possible dog park behind Flaherty Pool at Roslindale's Healy Field. He added that Hyde Park in particular would be difficult for building a dog park on city land because almost all the parkland there, such as Stony Brook Reservation, is owned by the state.

Woods estimated a cost of $250,000 to create a dog park, which would include required grading, fencing and installation of a water supply, both for hot dogs on warm summer days and to aid residents with keeping the sites clean.

City Councilor Kenzi Bok (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, Mission HIll) also supported the idea of more dog parks - and of converting the current ad-hock dog run on the Common into a more permanent facility. She said that some land under the ramps of Charlesgate would be ideal for a dog park, because it's not like much can grow there anyway, but said that would likely take some major cooperation between the city and the state, which owns the ramps.

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Comments

The south end has dog parks yet I still see regular parks there with off leash dogs and their shit everywhere. So what is the point of dog parks?

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I see people speeding, forgetting to turn on their lights at night and failing to stop at stop signs. What's the point of traffic laws? I see trash everywhere, what's the point of littering fines?

Build more dog parks, enforce ordinances in others and then you'll be free to roll around in the grass wherever you want.

I like how you picked out the South End as if this article doesn't specifically mention the rest of the city and several neighborhoods without them though.

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There is dog feces, bagged and unbagged, everywhere in the south end, along with pee stains all over the place, and off leash dogs now have complete run of blackstone park. It's disgusting and unsanitary. Enough with the dogs in dense urban environments!

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That the point of the article. More designated dog parks are needed to get dogs out of the people parks.

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So, let's say 75 people use a dog park every day, letting their dogs socialize and excercise. And, 3 idiots in the same neighborhood let their dog poop without cleaning it up. You want to use the 3 idiots as a reason not to build any more dog parks?

Sorry but I can't follow your logic at all.

. The south end has dog parks yet I still see regular parks with off leash dogs and their shit everywhere. So what is the point of dog parks?

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Except whether there are dog parks or not dog owners let their dogs shit and piss on lawns and gardens that are not theirs, let their dogs run unleashed and unattended all over parks that have leash rules. And let their dogs run wild at dog prohibited beaches. I havent met ANY dog owner who does not do this and i am talking even family and friends.
Dog leash laws need to be enforced and the fines go to funding any dog parks. And having a dog park take over part of an existing park means less space for humans, more barking noise, and smells. Look at dog shit park near the gas tanks in dot. It is a “dog friendly” park that is completely unfriendly to people. And the run off from all the dog shit pollutes the beach nearby. Why should i pay taxes to pick up dog shit? Dog owners should pay for that.

This island has no maintenance at all that I am aware of. It is a small island and honestly I don't think it would be more attractive if dogs were banned. It is used extensively by professional doggy daycare's and dog walkers every week day. While it is very poopy, it is also covered with grass and bushes, so I am not sure that much of the poop runs off into the water. In fact the island would be more pleasant if it did. All the poop on beaches gets rinsed off by tides. To be clear the poop should be picked up and put in trash cans, not in the harbor. I do think that this dog park should be improved by the people that use it. It needs a real gate and trash cans that distributed and serviced.

These city dog parks are postage stamp parks in comparison. They are designed for low maintenance and the parks are already receiving trash and maintenance services. It really isn't much extra work and reflects the changing needs of citizens.

Why should i pay taxes to pick up dog shit? Dog owners should pay for that.

Because that's how taxes work.

The sizeable contingent of people in support (including all of the leadership at this meeting) can't continue to allow a loud, toxic minority to shout down dog parks, or else we'll be stuck with the status quo.

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Meh, does the city really need to become more attractive to dogs and buying them?

They are a nuisance in a major metro.

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Assholes and their desire for the unconditional love and companionship of a dog whose only purpose in life is to love humans that aren’t assholes, amirite?

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.... unconditional love. Nor do children.

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Have you never had a dog?? Of course they provide unconditional love. Every dog I've ever owned has been excited to see me literally every time I came home (and if they were annoyed that I didn't give them food from my plate every now and again, they forgave me very quickly). If dogs don't provide unconditional love to non-jerk owners, then no one does.

No one brought up children, so not really relevant here.

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This is a big tangent but unconditional love is not real. Certain things are required for a living being to be capable of love, much less to direct that love as a person might wish. Needing unconditional love is a dangerous reason to get a pet or have children.

Want a dog?

Buy some land. Why should the city facilitate dog ownership?

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Buy some land where you can drive it and park it.

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you’re going for absurdity, but there are a few commenters here for whom this is the default position

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Enough of the space saver bullshit, delivery trucks blocking sidewalks and bike lanes and the city refusing to do anything about it. If you want somewhere that has car/truck infrastructure on demand, move somewhere that does. But if you're here in this fine city that fortunately does not have such things, if you don't have a disability placard, you need to either walk/bike/use public transit, or be prepared to walk a ways or pay exorbitant rates for a garage.

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the city facilitate sports? playgrounds? libraries? museums? Hell, even schools. I don't play tennis, therefore there shouldn't be any tennis courts in the park, am I right? Geez some people are dense.

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All those things you mentioned are for humans. Like it or not humans outrank dogs and tend to not leave their feces everywhere.

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Specist!

In any case, your comment makes no sense.

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Dog parks are built for dog owners (the constituents).

Dogs do not vote and the councilors don't care about them.

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Basketball courts are for humans, not for basketballs.
Libraries are for humans, not for books.
Bike paths are for humans, not for bikes.
And, of course, dog parks are for humans who want to enjoy outdoor play with their dogs

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All those things you mentioned are for humans.

That's like saying only men benefit from Viagra.

Humans benefit from dog parks as much as dogs. I'm sure a lot of people go for the socialization - theirs, not the dogs. Groups have fixed times they meet at the park just so they can chat - and oh yeah, the dog gets to play, too. And there's been more than one human romance started in a dog park.

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My wife and I met our best friends in the world at the dog park. Our dogs used to play together and we struck up the best friendship I have ever had. The two dogs we met have both passed on but our friendship has kept the 4 of us going during this pandemic.Dog parks are not just for dogs. It is an added benefit that the dog gets to play with his buds.

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Like Kinnopio said, we facilitate activities for human beings. Not activities for property.

Look at all the public parking.

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The city provides services, amenities and the like to its tax-paying citizens: some citizens choose to use these and some do not. For instance, if you have a car you can park it in designated street spots. If you have a dog, you can bring your to a dog park, the designated off leash section of the Common, or on leash to one of Boston's many beautiful parks. If you are a reader, you can borrow a book from one of the city's many public library locations and read it. If you have a bike, you can ride it on the street, on some sidewalks, in the bike lanes, and also along the Charles river. Just because one person doesn't read, does not mean the city shouldn't provide public libraries for those who do.

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Dogs are not people.

So everyone that can't afford to buy land shouldn't own a dog? That's classist and racist and miserable, all rolled into one!

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To own a pet in general and particularly a dog in a city. Not to mention, you useless pet (less seeing eye dogs) are a major contributing factor to climate change.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2017/08/02/whats-your-dogs-carb...

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It's selfish to be alive.

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Forbes is a horrible source

Why? That piece is a "OPINION" piece.

Forbes does a poor job at differentiating between opinion pieces and its real news.

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... that would otherwise be euthanized and try to give it a good life?

I agree that people who buy purebred puppies as fashion accessories are selfish but some people are just being kind to an unwanted animal. Not everyone can live in the country and city dogs enjoy life, if properly cared for.

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I can't imagine purebread dogs bought as fashion accessories is a thing in Boston... or maybe just with people you know I guess? Furthermore, not all purebread dogs are thought of as fashion accessories: labs are wildly popular purebreads. Do you know anyone who consider a lab a fashion accessory?? That said, adopting rescue dogs is best.

Seeing eye dogs aren't pets.

Any discussion of dog parks brings out the dog haters in droves.

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I like dogs. I just don't see why the city should be responsible for making dog ownership more attractive.

Buy a house with a yard. Or don't. It's not my problem.

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Really? That's a pretty artful twist of words there.

How about looking at it this way.
There are going to be dogs in the city - period. If dogs have nowhere to go, owners will use whatever is available, "legal" or not. They have no choice.
When the city provides dog parks, owners have a place to bring their dog and are not forced to go anywhere they wish.

In a perfect world, owners bring their dogs to the dog parks and the other places are dog-free. Of course, there is no perfect world. C'est la vie.

In any case, owners should pick up poop, and those that don't should be shot.

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More like dog owner haters.

... than dogs. Whether they own dogs or not.

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The south end has sidewalks but I regularly see pedestrians walking in the street so what's the point of sidewalks?

See how dumb that sounds? Thing is I agree with your complaint and I'm all for upping the punishment for people not picking up after thier dogs and jetting them off leash. But those actions are already a fineable offense so suggesting that dog parks aren't useful because some dog owners break the law is a bad faith argument.

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Lemme repeat it:

suggesting that dog parks aren't useful because some dog owners break the law is a bad faith argument.

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.... it’s because there aren’t enough dog parks and the ones that exist are too small and crowded.

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It's not the dog parks that are too small. It's the dogs that are too large.

Poop on the street has nothing to do with Dog Parks.. but lazy dog owners.

Much like people who circle the parking lot at Market Basket waiting for that spot that is 1-4 spaces in from the front door, when in the amount of time they drove around waiting, they could have parked in a spot far away and just walked.

PEOPLE ARE LAZY

Same with dogs. Why walk all the way to the dog park, when your little Fido can poop anywhere. And if Fido's owner is quick about leaving, they dont have to clean it up either.

And then add some "but someone or the rain will wash it away" mentality factor.

Then add 23849938490234903890 dog owners in one neighborhood who feel that same way.

Watch out.. you're gonna step in it.

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A 10x10 patch doesn't count. Try again.

The problem is that people assume all dogs love dog parks. That is not true. Only a small minority of dogs can handle a dog park, especially a small busy one. Most dogs don't love being approached by a group of strange dogs.

I agree we need more dog parks.... more than none... but I don't want people to assume that everyone with a dog will take them there. Most dog owners I know would never take their dog to a dog park.

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Officials allowed as how some dogs just don't like being with other dogs - and how some owners just use the nearest piece of greenspace near them even if there's a dog park not all that much further away.

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every day of the week, there assholes letting their dogs shit all over Fallon Field.

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I see assholes leaving garbage all over Fallon and every inch of the city. See what I did there?

Dog pooped should 100% be picked up by their humans. But forgive me for not taking any of you seriously who don't have issue or take responsibility w/ the garbage that covers every inch of this city.

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I would not use a dog park if one came to HP, as my two are old now and one of my dogs is reactive and my anxiety would be off the scale (that is the main reason!)

my dog gets intimidated easily, but she needs some supervised socialization with other dogs to keep her from becoming a neurotic pain in the butt. (Care for the dog, not the neurosis) But she does hate dog parks because of the gravel. She wants grass and dirt that she can dig her toes into and scratch about. Of course gravel is good for dog parks because it drains well and keeps it sanitary. my dog is very small and she just isn't comfortable on the gravel. I clean up after my dog, and everyone should clean up after their pets. I still walk her even when I have a yard because she needs the exercise.

Gravel can be harsh on dog’s feet.

A high income area. As someone who grew up in Roslindale. This is the whitest and wealthiest its been EVER!

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Because as somebody who lives here now, I'd argue it's way more diverse than it was when we moved here in the 1990s. There's more to the neighborhood than just Peters Hill.

Expensive? Yes, but there are still parts that aren't, well, at least relative to the rest of the city.

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Arroyo was joined by City Councilor Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury), who has seen two proposed dog parks in his district get shot down, one at Millennium Park in West Roxbury, where the city said it could not drill down for supports for required structures because that might puncture the lining that protects the giant heaps of trash buried under the park, and one along the Southwest Corridor Park, where DCR announced plans, then just gave up on them.

I don't pay too much attention to this stuff but can't they have fencing with block posts above ground? We aren't building the Eifel Tower here, just a fence for dogs. This is a WORLD CLASS CITY. Surely they could have thought up an idea for fencing in an area like this.

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I mean how far down are they going... or rather, how thin is the cap on this landfill?

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don't go down deeper than the supports for the playground structures. At least I hope the playground structures have some quality support better than what is done for fence posts. If this is an issue, how about trucking in a few more feet of landfill and then putting the dog park on top of that?

The playground was probably in the original design, so that area was made with a deep enough cap to support it.

That's also how they got a water fountain there. But it will be an issue as the city gets ready to re-do the playground there and, possibly, add a permanent restroom building where the water fountain is now. See the diagram here.

Hyde Park was downed. Oh the state owns all the land so good luck!

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And one was just rebuilt, so now you're down to just two city parks, in terms of potential dog areas, basically.

Meanwhile, what's left of the Thompson Center just continues to rot and get covered in feces, glass and graffiti.

and not dog feces?

The more people that use a park, the safer it is. Very often dog owners are there in the early morning hours when no one else is. The dog park areas really ought to be bigger when possible, too often they are tiny sections that end with the animals too crowded together, which results in stress and fights. Millennium Park can accommodate a large area for dogs. The city's assertion that fences are not possible should be challenged.

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A few years ago, I worked on trying to get a dog park.

As mentioned in the article, the City thinks it requires $250K for a dog park. That's a huge part of the problem. How can you get any traction when it "costs" a quarter of a million to cordon off some City-owned land for dog owners? Ridiculous.

And these aren't even accessible by monorail....

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It’s not just fencing. Our group of neighbors raised and spent about $100k building the Ronan Park dog park back in 2009. There was a major amount of grading and site work done. Special fill and gravel that keeps water from running off into other properties, shaded areas, and water are also needed.
It’s not cheap at all to do it right. But the city is flush with cash now due to increasing property tax revenue.

They find a way to make it a 100, 200, or 250K project.

The dogs are already using many of these areas. Just put up a simple fence. Anything else is gravy (and nice, but unnecessary).

Without mitigating runoff the city will pay as much if not more in lawsuits to neighbors whose property is impacted. Pick your poison.

Either Arroyo needs to visit the other side of Stony Brook Reservation or I’m truly ghetto.

Moreover, are Roslindale and Jamaica Plain areas in need of “social equity?”

That said, southern Boston needs dog parks.

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You gotta be kidding. Most kids in this city don't have a safe place to play (without homeless, needles, or drugs). And dog parks are foremost on the CC mind?

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You can do both, yknow

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But dogs come first, right?

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goin' straight to the devil

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You say you can do both, but maybe start with the Franklin park *playground*

Instead of having large sections of public space turned into de facto dog parks that exclude children, put the dogs in their own space and give back the space that was meant for kids to the kids. It seems like a win-win for the kids.

It's probably also a win-win for those people of color who have historical reasons to be a little skittish about off-leash dogs. (Hello, Ivy-league educated bird-watchers.)

And it's probably also a win-win for people like me who are just kinda annoyed at dog poop even though I kinda like dogs but also kind just want to not think about them when I'm going for a run.

Magoo has a pooch named cuddles McCutesey and he is such a wittle snuggle bugsy. Magoo

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is, if all this space is set aside for people to park their dogs, will they be allowed to use space savers?

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South End doesn't allow space savers.

So many dog walkers and all breeds of dogs living all over the city and so much dog shit stained and stepped on on sidewalks. Even if the walkers pick up the shit it get rubbed into the sidewalks. Worse than ever. I am a dog lover but also a pedestrian and resident.

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Nothing like a good old fashioned dog park post to remind you how many legit psychos comment on this site. Jesus.

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Preach it, brother. This may be the most highly concentrated collection of completely off-base and utterly inane comments I've seen on this site. You people are out of your goddamned minds.

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Dog parks have become the new bicyclists running red lights.

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I have no fur in this game, so the most remarkable thing to me is Arroyo's bookshelves.

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Srsly. Amirite? Magoo.

If a dog is attacked by others dogs at a dog park, is the city liable?

Last I checked, humans are dying on the streets of this city. Dog parks? GFY

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Think about it.

I'm all for dog parks, but realize you'll still have dog shit all over the city.

... dog poop everywhere are exaggerating. I walk a considerable amount all over Boston and I see very little dog poop compared to cigarette butts, fast food packaging, scratch cards, masks, etc. None of these things decompose either.

Forget the empty nips. If I got a nickel for every empty Fireball nip, I could probably pay off my mortgage.

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the city said it could not drill down for supports for required structures because that might puncture the lining

What structures are needed, besides a chain link fence?

If you go down a few feet, it's probably close to the cap and no-one wants to risk it.

A different question is where at Millennium was this going to go and why couldn't they move it to a non-trash portion of Millennium? For example, there's a bit to the north of the lower fields where I think it would be easy to put in a park on a bit of a sloped area?

One thing I've notice about Boston politics is many people jump to a "what about me" posture anytime spending comes into play.

If we only had quality-of-life services or amenities that everyone needed or wanted, we wouldn't have much of anything.

Asking people to buy land for their dogs is not a viable option in Boston. There's little land and it's affordable to a few.

I have seen private developers provide dog parks for their residents.
There should not be a dog park in the common!
Private developers, private groups and dog owners should pay for dog parks not taxes.
And leash laws should be enforced and that should pay for more dog officers who seriously fine people who soil the public land.

No lie - two of my dog owning neighbors have yards. But where do they take their dogs to shit and piss? My front yard. They don’t even see the absolute f*ucked up this is and how selfish it is. So now i cover my yard and garden in a hot chili salad dressing to keep the dogs away. It doesn’t damage my garden but it irritates (not hurts) the dogs. So far so good.