OPINION: Dog park or people park?


By Darrin Clark • Last Updated 5:46 pm on Thursday, August 18, 2011

By The Daily News editorial board

Last week we posed this very question on the front page. Is Krampe Park in Winfield Township for the dogs, people or both?

The answer is both, but with a lot of common sense control measures on pets.

A Coral man recently wrote a scathing letter to the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners complaining about a recent visit to Krampe Park. His most serious concerns centered on a group of dogs running freely among swimmers and sunbathers densely packed on the beach. The large dogs scared children nearby and ruined a good day at the park for many people, according to the letter.

How many times has this happened at Krampe Park and others in the area that weren’t reported? Many people like to bring their pets along for a day in the sun, and there’s no problem with that. Pets need exercise and a chance to spread their legs just like people.

However, pets need to be on a tight leash — literally and figuratively. We constantly hear about incidents involving dogs of many breeds, not just pit bulls, biting people. The law clearly states, even if signs at every park don’t, that dog owners are responsible for their pets’ actions at all times.

By now, it should be common sense to keep dogs on a leash when they are around other people or other animals. Even the most mild mannered dog can bite if someone accidentally bumps into it, which is easy to do when there are a lot of people around. It happens.

Generally, when someone bumps into another person at the beach they apologize and take a step away. Too many times when a dog gets bumped or perceives a threat from someone or something nearby it lashes out violently. Even poodles and terriers bite.

Dogs are quite a bit less discriminant about where they relieve themselves. People limit theirs to the restroom or in a worst case scenario in the water. Dogs are just as happy to leave a deposit right on the beach or in a grassy area where people walk. Finding the remnants is a sure way to make a good day bad.

Dogs also tend to bark — often a lot — around people and other dogs. If a dog barks constantly when it is around other people or pets, maybe a trip to the park during a busy time of day isn’t the best idea.

All we’re asking for is a healthy dose of common sense. Pet owners need to keep their pets under complete control at all times. If you can’t meet that responsibility, leave your dog at home or don’t own a pet. Our parks were designed for people to enjoy themselves. There’s room for dogs, but only if their owners are responsible. Nobody should get injured or have their day ruined by an irresponsible pet owner.

 

Editorial opinions are a consensus of The Daily News editorial board. 

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