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Jamaica Plain church members, neighbors to debate whether cemetery should keep doubling as a dog park

Jamaica Plain News alerts us to a July 29 meeting organized by the First Church on Eliot Street about its burying ground. It's fine with dogs, as long as their owners clean up after them, but some neighbors are not.

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Comments

… exact complaint are. But my first reaction is to be less sorry to have moved out of JP.

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How about "not every grass-covered space should be a dog park"? Particularly not grass-covered spaces that are dedicated to the repose of the dead?

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allowing the actual owner of the land to decide?

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allowing the actual owner of the land to decide?

I have no problem with that. My response was to the pissy snotty "glad I moved out of JP where people won't let my dog romp anywhere it wants to" comment.

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Who said that?
Are you putting words in my mouth?

You really are a miserable fuck. Maybe you need a therapy dog.

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You really are a miserable fuck. Maybe you need a therapy dog.

Dude. Look at your abusive snotty comments on this site, then look in the mirror. And then consider some therapy yourself.

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Will the dead be turning over in their graves?
Perhaps some of the dead are happy to see dogs getting some exercise?
Are you always such a pill?

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Are you always such a pill?

Yeah, you pretty much are. Calling someone a "pill" for questioning the appropriateness of turning a cemetery into a dog park is a dick move. And positing that the dead would be happy at dogs romping over their graves is such a reach that I expect you dislocated both shoulders and won't be able to type any more, which is a relief for everyone.

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I hope you feel better soon.

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I hope you find your elysian fields where your dog can romp at will.

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Of course, not cleaning up after your dog is disrespectful to everyone. But it's especially disrespectful in a cemetery. People shouldn't visit the graves of loved ones only to find them covered with dog poop.

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Is that what's happening here? How do you know? The meeting announcement is not specific about the neighbors' concerns. Don't make assumptions.

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"Loved ones" doesn't really fit... aren't the corpses in that graveyard from a long time ago, like the 18th and 19th centuries?

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My living relatives may not be happy to be disturbed by dogs and their poop, but I am happy to have my corpse covered in all forms of natural waste.

I'm sure nobody cares, but just in case there's a court battle in 100 years and UHub is considered a legally binding document.

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The church does have signs that clearly ask visitors to leash their dogs. Picking up the feces of one's dog is a no brainer. A person who doesn't puts everyone at risk, including other dogs.

Visitors who let their dogs run loose and/or do not pick up after their dogs should compensate both the church and the neighbors for abusing the privilege of even walking in the yard.

It is a beautiful spot of JP. An ancient graveyard (ancient for this nation). A lovely place to contemplate both our lives and our deaths.

Dog owners who believe they are above and outside basic rules of civility by letting their dogs run loose act with a shallow abuse that is offensive.

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I think it makes perfect sense to follow the rules set forth by the land owner, but why should dog owners compensate neighbors for the use of private property that does not belong to these neighbors?

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If the dog owners leave dog feces on the grass then they are contributing to increased coliform bacteria in the air. That decreases the quality of immediate air breathed by neighbors. If the neighbors have to put with diminished air quality then at least the people contributing to that diminishment can offer compensation.

Letting dogs run loose increases the likelihood that not all dogs will be seen when they void. Especially since this is also a social hour for the human owners.

Because neighbors pay via a decrease in the quality of the air at least the dog owners who contribute to the decrease can offer some kind of compensation in return.

The same principle was applied as mitigation during the Big Dig. Neighbors adversely affected were provided mitigation.

Obviously the 2nd best solution is to not leave dog feces laying in the grass, which would include not letting dogs run off leash. The ideal solution is to not have any dogs in the cemetery.

But the church leaders also come across as wanting to be part of the neighborhood in many ways. Among the many, including a food pantry, is letting dog owners use the cemetery for letting their dogs exercise and getting social time with other dog owners. The least the dog owners can do is to respect the boundaries put in place by the church.

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Okay. So how do the dog owners, the majority of whom do clean up after their dogs, get compensation for emissions from the neighbor’s vehicles, cigars, cigarettes, marijuana, heating systems, paint, pesticides etc?

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Except that the discussion is currently focused on dog feces. You're right about addressing emission from neighbor's vehicles, cigars, cigarettes, marijuana, heating systems, paint, pesticides, etc.

That list can be extended to unnecessary noise from car alarms, cars horns that blast when the car is locked, motorcycles with after market exhausts designed to walk the dead.

In this particular conversation the issue concerns a singular, particular situation: dog feces.

I agree that the other issues need attention. Over they years some of these issues have been addressed. Vehiculor emissions are far less than they were in the 50s and 60s. Across the board, indoors especially, but outdoors, there is less cigarette and cigar smoking. Paints that are less toxic are available on the market.

Paints with lead are pretty much gone.

Heating systems are vastly better today than 20 years ago.

Progress is made on each item by focusing on each item individually.

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Why do some dog owners think that every slice of green in the city is a toilet?? Take your dog to an appropriate location and stop expecting everyone to think your little Fifi is so damn cute. It's really irresponsible and inconsiderate.

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The owner of the land allows them to be there. Why is it the business of anyone else?

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Because other people use the land, not just the owner. And it's a cemetery, not a park.

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In my neck of Boston, people are allowed to have their pets off leash on their own property. If the First Church UU wants to allow pets to roam their private cemetery, that’s their prerogative, no matter how bad others (including myself) think it is.

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The signs are clear: Please leash you dogs.

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Perhaps the rector should get out there and enforce the rules. Or someone else from the church. Beyond that, meh.

To be clear, I distain the idea of off leash dogs in cemeteries, but as I am not a member of this church, it's not my concern.

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Yes, the owners of the land allow dogs to be on the property. They also clearly ask owners to keep their dogs on leashes. The dog owners do not.

Dogs off leash contribute to feces not seen. Feces left on the ground contribute to coliform bacteria in the air. That contributes to disease.

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Do you know that this is happening? The announcement does not give any specifics of the neighbors' concerns. You're making an assumption.

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Everytime I walk past the cemetery I see dogs running free. Owners are chatting with each other not watching their dogs.

Saw that yesterday.

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It sounds like the church has a written policy requiring leashed dogs and an unwritten policy allowing unleashed dogs. That's not sustainable they need to settle on one or the other.

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It sounds like the church has a written policy requiring leashed dogs and an unwritten policy allowing unleashed dogs.

Is that really what it is? Or is it not a "policy" of any kind, and just the reality that they can't afford to put a full-time guard on the place to police people who will not police themselves?

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Shitting everywhere is a sacred right of Jamaica Plain dog owners.

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Owners or dogs?

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Yes

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than a left leaning dog "owner" in my experience

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I wasn’t sure how a conversation about dog crap could be made political but you did it. Congrats I guess.

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I get that ppl feel that letting dogs use cemetery's is disrespectful but know the dead have no feelings. Long as owners are picking up after their pets I wouldn't mind them having the privilege of using any cemetery to walk their dog.

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To take your dog to poop in a graveyard.

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Just think of it as a compost pile. But seriously, I think most owners are there primarily to give their dogs some fresh air and exercise.

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Just think of it as a compost pile.

It isn't, though. Because dogs' diet is high in protein, their feces is very acidic. It tends to be high in bacteria, and it may also contain parasites. Dog waste is not suitable as a fertilizer.

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The USDA doesn’t agree with you.

Oh, and you can Google it yourself.

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T

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Dog feces contain coliform bacteria. When dog feces is not picked up then the feces laying in the grass contributes to increased coliform bacteria in the air. That is a public health problem. That is a source of disease.

Even the best of dog owners might not see their dog void when running in a yard as large as the cemetery. Therefore by not controlling the movement of the dog in a private setting they are increasing the risk of dog poop left in the grass.

Dogs are angels on 4 legs. But unlike celestial angels that do not exist in solid corporeal form, dogs eat and like all other beings, void. But dogs have not developed the mental ability recognize that they should pick up their feces. That's the job of the dog owner.

Without dogs, including dogs met on the sidewalk (hopefully with the owner) life can be thinner. But the thick excrement needs to be disposed of. Leaving trash in the street is bad. Leaving dog excrement laying around is bad.

On the other hand the church could put part of the yard to a use that benefits many people. Letting part of the yard be used as a vegetable garden.

Imagine growing vegetables specifically for canning and distribution to people needing food (part of their food pantry), canning those vegetables and working with the Eliot School to provide lessons in canning to people who might have access to growing their own vegetables.

But if the cemetery is used as a dog playground, especially letting dogs run loose, than that idea of enhancing their food pantry can not happen.

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Just say "I hate dogs and make shit up about shit to justify that".

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Swirly, don't you claim to have expertise in matters affecting public well being? If that is the case then what is with the hypocrisy?

And what about the foul language? What about a reasoned disagreement?

I often agree with your comments on other matters. But on this one you've just resorted to raw, childish insult.

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…. they could take note that some of the people they help with their food pantry have dogs but do not have yards or the means to transport their pet to places where dogs are permitted to exercise.
The church could also extend their benevolence to non human creatures.
The perception of some that all dogs are just conspicuous consumption style fashion accessories for self absorbed owners is mistaken and unfortunate. Some dog owners have dogs out of pity for abandoned and/or mistreated animals. Some find their lives are enriched by caring for a pet. Some have seeing dogs because they rely on them. In any case, humans domesticated dogs and we have responsibilities towards them.
I wonder sometimes if the die hard dog haters are really right in the head.
And I also suspect the objections of some of these neighbors has more to do with property values than fear of disease.

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Rich in ignorance and arrogance.

My dog, adopted from a rescue league, lived for 15 years. Pretty darn good for a large dog. I never needed to let her run loose without some kind of short or long leash. Meaning I was able to always keep in eye on her.

Why would I always keep an eye on her? Because she was a sweet, beautiful dog who was just a joy to watch and play.

The reference to "die hard dog haters" sounds like the kind of political slamming that Trump, et al. would use to attack people. Unable to respond with facts, respond by putting down the other person.

My inference from your statements is that you have no concern for respecting the property of the church. That instead it is seen as being for any use that you deem appropriate.

As the worst person ever to occupy the WH would say, Sad.

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By what cockamamie logic you now claim I’m a Trumpie… I just don’t know.

Anyway, I think we all know now you are one of the neighbors who complains. Possibly THE neighbor.

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They never used to let anybody go in there.
I grew up in the big brown house with the Eliot School on one side and the cemetery behind it. They used to have a 6 foot barbed wire fence all around. Somebody broke into the vault on the Eliot Street side in the early 70's. They cemented the entrance closed and put up the fence. They didn't mind us playing football in there every now and then, it was too narrow for baseball which we played at the Eliot School but there was no way in back then other than hopping the fence.

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It’s very possible that dogs will get to poop and pee there. There has to be a better middle ground between being barb wired shut to being a dog park.
I appreciate trying to make use of the space as something in addition to just a very old burying ground, but dog park can’t be the best choice.

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