Dog Park Hearing – this Wednesday

The City Council’s Youth, Parks and Recreation Standing Committee will meet to discuss the proposed DOG PARK at Green Hill Park this Wednesday, February 26 at 5:30pm in the Esther Howland (South) Chamber at City Hall.

You can find more details about the proposal here.  The proposal to have two enclosed areas –one for smaller dogs and one for larger dogs — was one of the last proposals from DPW&P Commissioner Moylan before he retired.

I’d like to see safe places for dogs to walk and play in the city.  Right now, there is no park in the city where dogs are allowed, even on-leash, even on the Common.  Dogs cannot technically be walked downtown (unless they live in the immediate vicinity).

But if you’ve lived in the city more than a few minutes, you know that many folks bring dogs to parks (sometimes even off-leash); that an area owned by the city has become an unofficial dog park; but that those who are trying to follow the law have limited options about where they can safely (and legally) have their dogs exercise and play.

As we’ve often seen in the city, it’s easy to take the initial step to ban something, and much harder to enforce the ban.  In the case of dogs in parks, there has been little ability to enforce it, and nowhere to direct people to take their dogs within the city.

Other communities (within the Commonwealth and around the country) have successfully implemented dog parks.  We should learn from their experiences and create from them a plan that will work for Worcester.

If you’d like the city to continue (well, begin) a conversation about dog parks, you need to:

We have created a Facebook event for this.  If you are on Facebook, please join the event & invite your friends.

You can also join the Facebook group for Friends of Worcester Dog Park or follow on Twitter for more updates.

Dog Park Hearing – February 26

The City Council’s Youth, Parks and Recreation Standing Committee will meet to discuss the proposed DOG PARK at Green Hill Park on Wednesday, February 26 at 5:30pm (for real this time; the meeting has been rescheduled) in the Esther Howland (South) Chamber at City Hall.  We will send more details as we get them.

If you want this to happen, you need to:

We have created a Facebook event for this.  If you are on Facebook, please join the event & invite your friends.

You can also join the Facebook group for Friends of Worcester Dog Park for more updates.

You can find more details about the proposal here.

Worcester has come a long way in the past few years.  We no longer have a bully-breed ordinance, and we now have an actual proposal for a dog park.

We need to keep the momentum going on making Worcester a better place for dogs and their owners.

Dog Park Hearing – Sometime in the near future

The City Council’s Youth, Parks and Recreation Standing Committee will meet to discuss the proposed DOG PARK at Green Hill Park on Monday, February 3 at 5:30pm in the Esther Howland (South) Chamber at City Hallsometime soon — that meeting got cancelled.  We will send more details as we get them.

If you want this to happen, you need to:

We have created a Facebook event for this.  If you are on Facebook, please join the event & invite your friends.

You can also join the Facebook group for Friends of Worcester Dog Park for more updates.

You can find more details about the proposal here.

Worcester has come a long way in the past few years.  We no longer have a bully-breed ordinance, and we now have an actual proposal for a dog park.

We need to keep the momentum going on making Worcester a better place for dogs and their owners.

Dog Park on Tuesday’s City Council Agenda

On Tuesday’s City Council agenda, there is a proposal for a dog park on a “5 acre site along the westerly boundary of Green Hill Park.”  (Corner of Channing and Green Hill Parkway)

It’s Item 8A on the agenda; you can find more details here or by viewing the PDF of the city manager’s portion of the agenda.

This will be referred to the City Council’s Standing Committe on Youth, Parks, and Recreation and there will be at least one hearing before the Parks Commission.

However, if you feel strongly about this — please come to the City Council meeting on Tuesday and show your support by speaking in the first half hour of the meeting.

If you cannot attend the meeting, please email the City Council to let them know your feelings.

If you are on Facebook, you can share the event with those who might be interested.

New dog ordinance passed

In what will hopefully be an end to the saga of the pit bull ordinance, last night the City Council passed a dog/cat/ferret ordinance that will bring Worcester in compliance with a new state law.  That means no breed-specific legislation, and targeting problem dog owners rather than dogs that have done nothing wrong .

Councilor Eddy, the original proponent of the pit bull ordinance, decided to walk out of the room rather than vote either on his conscience (which would be a No) or to bring the city ordinances in line with state law (which would be a Yes).

While some might look at that as a cowardly act, I prefer to look at it as an homage to his former colleague Joff Smith.

Congratulations to the dog owners who made this happen!

Pit Bull Ordinance on Tuesday’s City Council agenda

As regular readers have been anticipating, the city solicitor is recommending that the City Council adopt revisions to the existing dog ordinances. The revisions would remove any breed-specific aspects to the ordinance, allows for license fees to be waived for service dogs and dogs registered to those over 70 years of age, and changes the way hearings for dogs accused of being nuisances are handled.

I am grateful to the dog owners who contacted the city clerk and city solicitor about this.  I hope it passes on Tuesday night.

Pit Bull Ordinance on its last legs?

You may recall that a few months ago, Governor Patrick signed into law An Act Further Regulating Municipal Animal Control.

Among other things, the “legislation updates the state’s dangerous dog law so that it now nullifies existing city and town ordinances that focus on particular breeds, such ones that ban pit bulls or require them to be muzzled. Breed-discriminatory legislation has never proven effective at reducing dog bites, and it punishes all citizens living with a particular breed, whether they act as responsible owners or not. The new law requires municipalities to focus on the behavior of misbehaving dogs and their owners, regardless of the breed involved—for example, enforcing existing leash laws for all free-roaming dogs, which are the animals responsible for most reported bites.”

The City of Boston has already noted that “the City’s pitbull regulations and rules will become void as of November 1, 2012.”

I am checking to see whether the City of Worcester will go in a similar direction regarding its pit bull ordinance, and whether residents who have had their dogs registered as pit bulls will be notified that they no longer need to do anything different than other dog owners.

More to come in this space soon, I hope.