New Poll: How should parks handle all those dogs?

I recently wrote a story about how the Bainbridge park district is trying to handle the growing number of dogs visiting the island’s parks.

Dogs and their owners are attracted by the forested trails, the open fields and the chance to socialize, much like any other park user. Problem is, not all the other park users like being up-close with dogs they don’t know, and are especially peeved with the proliferation of dog poop and the increasingly frequent brushes with unleashed dogs.

Fun fact: there are more dogs on Bainbridge than humans under the age of five.

The park district knows dogs are here, and here to stay. They’re working now on a couple ways of accommodating the desires of both the dogged and the dogless.

One plan is to create new off-leash areas at Strawberry Hill and Battle Point parks. Another option is to expand and improve the little-used off-leash area at Eagledale Park. Others say dogs should be able to roam free at parks as long as they complete off-leash obedience training. Folks on the other end of the spectrum say dogs should always be leashed, and that the district should step up enforcement, possibly handing out citations for abandoned poop and unleashed dogs.

What do you think? Cast your vote on what the district should focus on over to the right.

Look below for the results from this blog’s last poll about 2010’s top stories.

The police shooting of Douglas Ostling was voted the top story of 2010 by Bainbridge Conversation readers. The story drew 26 percent of the vote.

Coming in close behind for a second-place tie were the drastic city budget cuts and the failure of American Marine bank. Both drew 25 percent of votes cast.

Declining aquifer levels came in third, with 8 percent. Fourth place was shared by the city finance director’s resignation and the approval of the Strawberry Plant Park restoration plan. Both received 4 percent of the vote.

The proposal to move the court to Poulsbo got 3 percent, and the approval of the Winslow Way redevelopment plan and BITV going off the air garnered two votes each.

4 thoughts on “New Poll: How should parks handle all those dogs?

  1. I just paid a $200 vet bill to get my dog stitched up after she (on a leash) was attacked by an off-leash dog on Bainbridge. As the dog’s owner approached us he said “don’t worry – he’s friendly.” Seconds later his very large dog attacked my dog. Humans can’t anticipate or control their dogs’ social interactions. Except in designated areas where owners are accepting the risk, dogs should be on leashes.

  2. My husband and I have a beautiful German Shepherd dog, he’s now 10 months old. We participate in training at a great facility with an experienced trainer and fantastic classmates and their dogs. My dog will be in classes for a year or more, we love agility and obedience courses. We are experienced dog owners who spend a good bit of money on our friend in food and regular veterinary visits. I will not take my dog to any off leash park. It only takes ONE stupid owner of an aggressive animal to hurt him and ruin his psyche due to an attack. Why would I put my dog in that situation? My concerns are for my animals safety and health. It is my job.
    I do not want YOUR unleashed dog approaching me when I walk my dog on his leash. I don’t want your dog to slobber on me, beg me for treats or jump on me. If we are approached aggressively by your dog, I will use pepper spray to keep it away-too bad the poor dog suffers when it is their owners fault for not keeping them on lead. I don’t want to “watch out for land mines” left by inattentive or irresponsible dog owners. Why is it so difficult for people to follow rules and laws? This entitlement to disregard rules/laws is WRONG folks.

  3. I believe if there were more off leash opportunities, it would cut down on people randomly letting their dogs off leash in other areas. If there was a trail (even just 1!) that allowed dogs off leash and you are a person that doesn’t want to be around off leash dogs, then you can go to another trail. There are so many trails on the island, I don’t know why this can’t happen. Eagledale is a joke – it’s completely muddy and only acceptable about 2 months of the year. It is a hike up a big hill which does not work for many people. Bainbridge should also have a small dog park so small dogs can feel free to play and socialize and not worry about getting run over. I do think people should pick up the poop – I know I do. I think there should be more poop dispensers – and more garbage cans placed throughout Battle Point and if the Parks could at least place some garbage cans at the Grand Forest & Gazaam that would help immensely. Although, if we’re talking about poop…perhaps you can get horse owners to pick up poop, too!!

  4. All dogs should be on leashes all the time, unless they are inside the owner’s home or in the owner’s fenced-in yard. If they want an off-leash area, that’s what their own yard is for. They can invite the other dog owners over for a play date if the dogs want to romp about together.
    It is very unpleasant to be jumped on or sniffed at when walking in the park. It has happened several times and each time the owner has smiled at me as if I am supposed to be happy that their dog has jumped on me. It’s not cute, folks. Read the sign that says “leash your dog”.

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