ithaca & the dog park issue, my opinion

08/01/02: ithaca prides itself on its cosmopolitan atmosphere, and justly so. the cultural and intellectual wealth available here is without rival, and it saddens me that as a resident of this city, i feel my needs as a member of a special interest group are not truly understood and not truly considered. the special interest group to which i refer is those twoleggeds who choose to regard their canine family members with the same love and respect they accord the human components of their homes. many would call this over-anthropomorphizing, but their classification of my choices is moot. this is, afterall, the land of the free, home of the brave.

the state of new york and the city of ithaca are currently trying to work out a scrap of acknowledgement that dog fanciers have just as much right to a safe, fun place for their dogs as those with human children. though no aspect of government seems to give weight in kind to my feelings about my dogs, there does seem to be a begrudging consensus that some form of off-leash dog park should be made available to we the afflicted with a crazy attitude about our pets.

the july 30 edition of the ithaca journal reports on a recent public meeting regarding the off-leash dog park issue. currently, the state is considering a 2 acre piece of unwanted land to be fenced as the off-leash area of allan tremain state marine park. prior to government involvement, a much larger area of this park has been and is being used as a de facto off-leash park. no dog owner could ask for a better facility than the current, unofficial one. dogs and their people have a choice of group frolic in the open field, solitude kissed walks through the grassland or full metal water play lakeside in an area unfit for human swimming.

objections have been raised about lessening the suitability of the area in question for humans who want to enjoy the park. my opinion about this is there are more than enough public places in the ithaca area for humans to enjoy wildlife, the lake, the gorges, the incredible beauty of our region. why must this one small area also be exclusively for humans without unleashed dogs? i am excluded from so many "public" places with my dogs. it does not seem unreasonable to ask the state to validate my special interests with the small concession of what has been tacitly acknowledged until now to be The Dog Park.

i read with a chuckle the objection that the wildlife in the current dog park area is disturbed by the dogs. i have found the contrary to be true. the birds take great pleasure in teasing the few dogs who will try to chase them, and i've seen many a labrador retriever experience genuine frustration over this impossible game dictated by the birds. when the dogs go home at night, the birds must fend against more worthy prey than pet canines, and thus are more than equipped to simply enjoy teasing our fourlegged buddies.

i expect the selfish attitude of families with dependent children to win out; this has become the norm. the rights of adults to conduct their lives without constantly being reminded of children is gone. the only places one can be sure of not having children around are bars, racetracks and the voting booth. sadly, the children-based members of our population are in the majority, and instead of raising children, society is letting itself be controlled by the presence of children.

if you'd like to see pictures of dogs enjoying the current dog park, see any of the following urls:

may 4, 2002
may 23, 2002
may 31, 2002
june 10, 2002

to read the latest article on the dog park from the ithaca journal, click HERE.