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Palo Alto dog-owners group to lobby for more public space

Original post made on Jun 22, 2013

A group of Palo Alto dog owners want the city to create an open area in a park for frolicking, off-leash dogs.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, June 22, 2013, 1:11 PM

Comments (34)

Posted by robit noops, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 22, 2013 at 3:43 pm

I still find dog doo in my front yard every week, and people leaving bags of doo on my property on a regular basis. I would be more likely to support something if dog owners were more responsible for their actions.

Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2013 at 4:22 pm

TO: "robit noops"
WOW....that really happens in Palo Alto? People leave animal waste on your property [portion removed]?

Think about moving to Redwood City -- I've lived here 15 years and I have had dog waste on my front yard, ever. (Also, you can buy twice the house for your PA house profits).

What is going on in Palo Alto?

Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2013 at 4:24 pm

left out a word "NEVER had dog waste on my front yard"

Posted by robit noops, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 22, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Its my house. These colors never run.

I love dogs, and most dog owners are great.

Posted by Parks are good, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 23, 2013 at 6:54 am

Just stay out of the Bay Lands. Anywhere else is fine by me, but dogs and the Bay Lands are a terrible mix.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 23, 2013 at 1:17 pm

This will be a complete waste of money because many dog owners are basically lazy. They will still take their dogs to PAUSD schools to run around because it's most convenient for them. There is dog feces left at Jordan a lot, on Hugh Center Court (where students sit on the lawn at lunch time), and twice my children have stepped in feces during P.E. What are the chances that my family has encountered feces so many times? Small, which means these irresponsible dog owners are VERY irresponsible. We had to pay money to install hedging around our large lawn because it was the neighborhood dog toilet. It's a shame so many irresponsible dog owners ruin it for the responsible dog owners.

Posted by Ashil, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 23, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Resident is right, the PAUSD school playing fields are the default place for neighbors to take their dogs to run off leash and **** all over the fields. Thanks rude dog owners.

Posted by Space Please, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 24, 2013 at 10:46 am

There is no doubt that there are some irresponsible dog owners (just as there are irresponsible neighbors or parents!), but for those that are responsible, having a space that gives dogs a place to run around would be ideal.

It should, however, be kept clean - which is why Nealon park's model seems very interesting.

Dog owners wouldn't go to Jordan and let there dogs off leash if there was a LARGE dog park in Palo Alto with GRASS where the dogs could run off leash.

Even the dog run at Mitchell park which is half grass and half dirt is in poor condition because there are too many dogs in a small space.

Palo Alto is a very dog friendly city - I'm happy we are considering having a big public discussion on how to balance the needs of the dogs with those of the residents and the community at large.

Thanks for starting the group Harold!

Posted by Palo Alto Dog Group, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2013 at 10:54 am

Maybe the name for the Dog Owners Group of PalO altO should be called DOGPOO.

But seriously, choose a park in north Palo Alto, create a fenced in area where dogs can run in early morning hours and a ball field of some sort can be used later in the day.

I'd agree with such a plan if it were coupled with more vigorous enforcement against off-leash dogs in other parks and on school grounds.

Posted by dt north, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 24, 2013 at 10:57 am

I agree - the few make the masses look bad - my daughter stepped out of our car yesterday without looking, right into a pile of dog diarrhea. Nice! Granted that would have been hard to pick up with a bag, but if your dog is going to poo, pool it off my plants to the street and if that doesn't work borrow my hose and hose it off if you can't pick it up. Some consideration people! If I wanted to step in dog poo or pick up dog poo I could get my own dog and also benefit from the upside to having a dog!

Posted by neighbor, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 24, 2013 at 10:59 am

I agree that there are irresponsible owners out there. We used to go to an elementary school field and ALWAYS did a "clean sweep" before leaving to make sure nothing was left behind, whether from our dogs or others. Unfortunately, not all owners are considerate -- we had to request they clean up after their dogs (also true at the dog park)whenever we saw them ignoring the mess. Some would just turn and walk away. We also picked up the water bottles, candy wrappers, and other garbage left by the humans.

Posted by Palo Alto Dog Group, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2013 at 10:59 am

How about Eleanor Pardee Park? Web Link It's the second largest neighborhood park and has a playing field.

Posted by Palo Alto Dog Group, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2013 at 11:01 am

Correction, I meant Eleanor Pardee Park has ROOM for a playing field and a dog run, with five acres of undeveloped land.

Posted by David, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2013 at 11:03 am

Off leash K9s in Open Space is still a bad idea. Arastradero Preserve has become swamped with K9s since Stanford closed the dish many years ago. Most owners abide by the leash laws, and few pick up their K9s waste. Walk down any path away from the parking lot and it is littered with K9 waste from the ungrateful and lazy owners. Some owners pick up the K9 waste and bag it. Some go through bagging the waste and leave it. Do you think the rangers go around and pick up your bagged waste? Leaving your K9 waste makes nature unsightly, and spreads disease to native animals (for those owners who don't keep up on preventative vacinations). Domestic K9s and coyotes do not mix. The coytoes are very protective when raising pups, and other times will attempt to lure your off leash K9 away from the owner to have your K9 for a meal. Off leash K9s will increase the potential for bites to other hikers/bikers, and will not mix with equestrians. It will increase the morality of young birds and animals, and these off leash K9s will have increased snake bites. Off leash K9s in Open Space is a bad idea. Oh yea, I am a dog owner.

Posted by Former dog owner, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2013 at 11:04 am

I am a former dog owner for 15 years and appreciate all the values of a pet. However, I agree with all the previous comments around the fact that dog owners in Palo Alto ALREADY run dogs off leash in almost every park. It's just not true that if dog owners had a run they wouldn't go to Jordan, or any other school or park, to run off leash. There IS a dog run in Hoover Park, but the dogs run off leash in the open field every day! The dogs also run off leash on all the school grounds so kids step in dog poop during school (which dog owner would like to be on call to leave work so the parent doesn't have to and bring the kids fresh clothes?). Also, I'm sorry, but the Nealon Park model in Menlo Park doesn't work (off leash during designated hours). My son's baseball team practices at Nealon after the designated off leash hours. The dog owners leave Nealon Park at 10am. After they leave, invariably some poor outfielder dives for a fly ball and slides through dog poop face first. Dogs = poop. Keep them in a designated dog run. Dog owners just can't be trusted to pick up the poop on open fields. Not to mention, my family can't even walk on the sidewalks in Midtown without stepping in dog poop. Some dog owner always leaves a smooshed trail of dog poop for the rest of us to walk through. I'd like to see more rights for pedestrians to walk on dog poop free sidewalks and less for dog owners to further soil the parks.

Posted by Toady, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 24, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Sure. Let's have a dog park for them. And pet licenses should be $500/year to help maintain the area.

Also, if your dog is unlicensed or running free outside of the designated space, off they go to the dog pound. Also, owners fined $50,000 to get them back.

Fair trade.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 24, 2013 at 2:48 pm

@PA Dog Group: I love the DOGPOO acronym!

"Currently, there are 5,600 licensed dogs registered with Palo Alto Animal Services. . . That figure might represent about 25 percent of the city's dog population, she added."

So how do they enforce off-leash dogs, unscoopers, and dog licenses?

I love Toady's idea of high fines and pet license fees. If they charged perhaps $1000 for a license fee, then they might more likely visit the dog park every now and then because they paid such a high fee. But then again, who wants to take their dog to a dog park where there will be feces residue that might get on their dog's paws and owners shoes?

Posted by Howard Hoffman, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Most of us would agree to increased fees for better off-leash facilities. However, suggestions like Toady's ($1,000 license, $50,000 fines) are ridiculous. As for enforcement of "unscoopers", almost everyone we meet at the dog run (Palo Alto) or dog park (Menlo) gives a friendly point when they see someone else's dog pooping. Thus, no outside enforcement is needed. This self-enforcement comes naturally with the sense of privilege of having a decent place for one's dog to play. However, for a place like Nealon Park, which is a shared facility, a backup plan, like a professional pooper-scooper at the end of a session, really makes sense.

Posted by Jo Ann, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 24, 2013 at 3:45 pm

We bring out dog to Mitchell Park daily. I've never seen anyone leave dog poo behind. People go out of their way to point out when a dog goes so the owners don't miss cleaning it up.

That being said, the organizers did a LOUSY job of publicizing the meetings. Is it too much to ask for them to post announcements AT the dog parks where they'd be like to find dog owners? Too sensible, I guess.

Posted by DogFreeSchools, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 24, 2013 at 4:16 pm

The kids are stepping in dog poop daily at our elementary school. It ends up not only on their shoes, but also on their clothing. Instead of a child enjoying their recess they have to deal with cleaning dog poop off of themselves. I sure wish the city would step in and keep school grounds dog free.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 24, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Stratford has a great idea to keep dogs out: they have the entire school gated and locked. I too, am tired of seeing dog poop all over our school lawns. Someone was letting his dog poop on the kindergarten lawn at morning drop-off! Picking up the poop still leaves residue that a student might sit or put their hand in. If poop is not harmful, why don't dog owners pick it up with their bare hands?

Posted by DogFreeSchoolsTOO! , a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 24, 2013 at 4:24 pm

"who wants to take their dog to a dog park where there will be feces residue that might get on their dog's paws and owners shoes?" Let's rephrase that to "who wants to take their KIDS to a SCHOOL FIELD where there will be feces residue that might get on their KIDS HANDS and KIDS shoes?"

If we had a large dog park, perhaps people would stop bringing their dogs to the school fields. Most of the people are good about cleaning up, but in a field the size of Jordan, even is you see your dog defecate all the way across the field, it can be hard to find when they are so far away.

Kids place spaces and dog poop don't mix.

Posted by Ben, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 24, 2013 at 7:45 pm

I'm glad some dog owners scoop the poop. However, *** **** dog owners who regularly leave piles of **** all over the school playing fields is completely unacceptable. I would support a ban on dogs, period, at all PAUSD playing fields. I would also support animal control handing out stiff fines for off leash violations anywhere under their authority, and fines for owners/walkers who leave **** behind. Maybe violators spending a weekend in an orange jumpsuit, like a DUI crew cleaning the side of a highway, cleaning **** from the public parks might be an enlightening experience.

Posted by neighbor, a resident of another community
on Jun 24, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Take a look at the design of the Foster City Dog Park (Foster City Blvd. & Bounty Drive). It's a good model for a park that could easily be located in a Palo Alto Park.

The dog park is totally fenced, so dogs can be safely off-leash. It has artificial grass -- which can be easily hosed and cleaned, and which never gets muddy. The park separates large and small dogs for safety. There are chairs and benches for the owners.

Everyone gets along great there....the neighbors have no issues with the park, because it is self-contained. Don't see it as a substitute, but a model for a park that could be replicated in Palo Alto.

Web Link

Posted by ChrisC, a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 24, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Cameron Park in College Terrace also hosts many dogs running off-leash. I think every park is a dog park. I have to say, however, that people walking their dogs in my neighborhood seem to always have plastic bags with them and I seldom see dog poop anywhere around College Terrace. Thank you. I like dogs, but I do wish people would follow the leash laws, plus there should be some laws about muzzling dogs as well, as they are showing up in more and more places now.

Posted by, a resident of another community
on Jun 25, 2013 at 11:15 am

Well starting to consider ourselves as a bit of an expert in this field. We have been on a few dog park comities and deal with Poop daily. Just yesterday cleaned off cat poop on a customer's roof. We have also been called out to take care of dog waste on front lawns by local PD to help solve neighborhood disputes before they get out of hand.

San Mateo took sections of parks and fenced them off for dog use only. They ran a pilot program and some stayed and some did not. For the most part it has worked. The shared park idea is one that I personally would not suggest. Like they say it happens, we were called out to check on a field that is shared use after the dog hour period and we still found waste. To clean a field properly you need to walk a grid and it takes time. Cost for our service is $60 and hour on the low end to cover costs and time ect. . Just est a football size field could take one hour plus.

So to keep the Doody off the public fields a dog section only is ideal. No one wants to step or slide in Doody. Must dog owners try and do there duty and pick up the waste , but it happens you miss it .

I hope this helps!

Posted by resident, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 25, 2013 at 11:52 am

So many irresponsible dog owners...its more likely dogs are off leash than on leash in city parks and Open Space reserves...really terrifying for runners and walkers. And the problem of poop in school lawns is just so awful..these dog owners clearly don't like children. I find poop in my front lawn too. If people can't really take care of their pets, they shouldn't get them. Very inconsiderate.

Posted by Stepped in it, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 25, 2013 at 5:45 pm

If they do get a major of leash space to themselves, we need to make the off leash fine in parks 500 first offense or 100 hours community service (Picking up trash and dog poop in parks)

The ONLY reason these selfish entitled people do this is because there is no enforcement. If a cop came by with his tickt book out they would rush to leash their dogs. They would do so because they know they are criminals. Yes, minor criminals, but just like all criminals, these off-leashers will scamper and scramble when the police show up.

WRITE TICKETS DAMNIT!!!! Its your job by the way. Just sayin'

Posted by Resident, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 25, 2013 at 6:44 pm

@Stepped in it: I share your anger. However, please respect our police department. They are understaffed and when there is a major incident, they are at the scene immediately. I know of a police officer who quit PAPD because residents spoke to him like he was a servant, such as your statement. And "Just sayin'" doesn't reverse the disrespectfulness of comments. I all for disrespecting dog owners who leave poop everywhere, however.

Perhaps there can be dog licenses and fines so high that the revenue can support one animal services representative who can write tickets.

Posted by kathrynn dennis, a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 26, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Nealon Park shared dog park/baseball field is a disaster. My son played in a baseball camp there right after the dogs left---owners do not reliably pick up the dog poop.

One poor Little Leaguer there ran to catch a pop fly in the outfield and stepped and slid in dog poop---it smeared from his wrist, up his arm and down the front of his pants. He wore it the rest of the day at camp.

Terrible idea, dogs sharing an atheltic field.

Posted by Pa resident- jordon lover, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Jordan is one of the best fields out there for dogs of all sizes. My dog has grown up with these dogs and I know all the regular dog owners who come there. Our problem is that we are the responsible owners who DO pick up after our dogs, let someone know if their dog just went and in some cases, we do pick up doggy poop that's not by our dog. We are the evening park visitors. The morning crew walks their dogs and lets them do their business and walk on as though no one is watching. Responsibility comes with dog ownership. Responsibility also entails making sure your dog is well exercised on a daily basis to stay healthy.
A Foster City style dog park would be PERFECT for Palo Alto. Myself and I will guarantee plenty of dog owners would be willing to PAY to have something like that just for the peace of mind of an open space where your dog can be off leash having a great time.

Posted by DogFreeSchools, a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 27, 2013 at 12:22 pm

The dog owners know very well that their dogs should be on leash but they have an "I don't care attitude" and don't give a poop!

Kids should have a clean playing field at school and for sports!

Posted by TimmieTee, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 29, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Get the dogs out of public parks and enforce leash laws! Hoover is rampant with off-lease dogs. It's become Dog-$h1t Park, and smells like a giant public toilet.

Posted by How about diapers, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 29, 2013 at 11:24 pm

The punishment for those who leave poop in parks in addition to fines should be that their dog has to wear a diaper for a month. That's how we control it in children, why not dogs?
I too am the recipient of dogpoo bags in my compost bin. The slobs are too lazy to take it home.
Actually there is something humorous about these self-styled fancy folk having to deal with dogdoo every day.

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