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Why so little use of dog parks?

Original post made by Dog park usage, Fairmeadow, on Dec 9, 2017

I often walk by empty dog parks in Palo Alto, though people will be exercising dogs off-leash close by. Why are folks avoiding dog parks? I love dogs, and I have both used and not used dog parks. I'm just wondering, once Palo Alto adds more dog parks, and makes some larger, will the parks be much busier, or will people continue to avoid them? Thinking about this some more might help us to ensure their success...

Comments (10)

Posted by Dogs Trespass
a resident of Duveneck School
on Dec 9, 2017 at 9:46 pm

Great observation. Dog owners just do what they want, whether it’s breaking the ordinance by allowing their dog to be off leash or not picking up the dog feces, or trespassing on private property to allow their dogs to defecate. It’s too much trouble for them to drive their dogs to a dog park that is filled with other dogs’ excrement; their dogs are too precious. The city should use the money for something else, as another dog park won’t change anything. Dogs will still leave feces on school grounds where children step in it. Entitled dog owners are just like the liberal elites, the rules don’t apply to them.

Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 9, 2017 at 10:45 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

@Dogs Trespass - I agree, the schools are the de facto dog parks in Palo Alto. Why go to a dog park when you have an elementary school only a couple blocks away? It wouldn't be that big an issue except for those dog owners that don't pick up after their dog. Some are just bad citizens, others are just too engaged in chit chat to pay attention. Regardless, dogs should be banned from school property because in spite of pleas, warnings, police visits, it is still a problem.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 9, 2017 at 11:36 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

It really depends on when you walk by the dog parks because they are distinct "shifts" at each of them. For Mitchell Park, there's the morning, the noonish shift which is often the dog walkers with multiple dogs and the late afternoon shift (4ish and later depending on the season) where there are usually at least 25 people daily, some with multiple dogs. Weekend schedules are much more flexible.

Posted by Dogs Trespass
a resident of Duveneck School
on Dec 10, 2017 at 12:22 am

The City Council and School Board are too scared to ban dogs on school campuses even though it’s a real health hazard.

At Duveneck one morning, I saw a dog defecating on the grass in the kindergarten playground. I don’t care if it’s picked up, there is residue that will get on hands or shoes. If it’s so harmless, why don’t dog owners pick it up with their bare hands?

Two times, my children have returned home with dog feces on their shoes.

Another time, my then 5 year old fell on the Jordan lawn and his hand fell smack into some fresh feces.

Jordan Middle School turns into an off-leash dog park and there have been dogs who have stolen our whiffle balls while I was trying to practice with my son. The owners don’t watch their dogs because they are too busy socializing. When they do notice, they laugh it off.

Why do they think it’s okay for their dogs to impact the health and safety of other people?

The solution is to do what Stratford has done, which is lock the gates around their school so the dogs can’t enter. This will harm recreation on the fields but will keep our children safe from e-coli.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 10, 2017 at 8:32 am

I have never been a dog owner in Palo Alto, but I have grown up with dogs and lived with dogs in the past.

I would not use the Palo Alto dog parks because there is no grass. I would not want to have my dog on dirt which gets muddy in rain or so dusty in summer that they would not be clean enough to bring into my house after a walk. The dog park in San Antonio center is clean and I have watched dogs being let loose there by responsible owners. I don't see anything like that anywhere in Palo Alto.

Secondly, I never heard of taking a dog for a walk by driving them somewhere until I moved here. When I had dogs I would take them for walks in nearby open areas. I don't think any of the dogs I lived with ever went in a car unless they were too sick to walk to the vet.

Lastly, I think the dog parks are much too small. A dog needs to walk to heel and also to sniff and chase a ball much more than to interact with other dogs. I think the parks here have a herd mentality and I am not sure that suits all dogs.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 10, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Many are employing paid dog walkers, some of these, like some owners, have the dogs pee/poop on other peoples’ gardens and lawns. They may or not (semi) clean it up, they sometimes leave bags (I had a bag of poo thrown up onto my lawn). They sometimes place this filth in others’ garbage/other bins. I am tired of putt8mg up with this, and I think people shoukd be prevented from doing this at our public schools, too.
Exercise and have your dog go on your OWN property!

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 10, 2017 at 2:06 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Some of those paid dog walkers, esp. that company using cute young blonde girls, don't have a clue how to control their charges. One of them was walking 2 big dogs through Rinconada and both dogs lunged at ours while she was texting. Only when WE separated the dogs did she chirp "Sorry sorry" and then go back to texting. We should have gotten her contact info because we didn't find the blood on our dog until we got home.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 12, 2017 at 1:51 pm

@ Dogs Trespass: PAUSD controls the dog policy when it comes to school property.

Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 12, 2017 at 3:33 pm

No longer an issue for me personally, but, time was when all the dogs on school grounds were a major headache for me. Some dog owners are constant abusers. Or, as the posts say, maybe they aren't owners after all, just paid lackeys.

Posted by Dogs Trespass
a resident of Duveneck School
on Dec 12, 2017 at 5:16 pm

@Crescent Park Dad: Yes, PAUSD sets the dog policies during school hours, but after hours, the City Council is responsible for the property.

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