Tuesday, June 22, 2010

For the Dogs?

Posted By on Tue, Jun 22, 2010 at 10:16 AM

No one is ever going to accuse City Council member Barbara Swearengen Ware of liking dogs.

The City Council parks committee discussed the city's first dog park, recently opened behind the MCS administration building (and the parks division offices) on Avery, and Ware is not in favor of it.

"I don't want to spend another dime on dogs," Ware said. "We should encourage dog owners to think about what they're going to do with their dogs before they buy them."

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The dog park cost the city $14,000 — $10,000 of which, parks director Cindy Buchanan pointed out, was for fencing and could be reused in another capacity later.

"The reason we built this one the way we did, where we did, was because it's a test," Buchanan said. "We've been getting lots and lots of requests, going back to 2000."

"We put it across from our offices so we can keep an eye on it: Is it being used? Is it being used appropriately?" Buchanan said.

None of which seemed to satisfy Ware, who said the city shouldn't be spending money on dogs that they could be spending on people.

"I hope that there are no plans to build any more," she said. "I don't care who it's for. Why would we build an animal shelter and then build a dog park? We don't have to provide any place for people to go with their dogs. They made a conscious decision to have a dog."

Buchanan and other council members tried to explain to Ware that both the dog park and the animal shelter benefit citizens.

"It's similar to any other group of people who have similar interests. They want to come recreate and socialize with other owners," Buchanan said. "Other cities have huge dog parks. This one is very small and it was very inexpensive."

"It's not like stray dogs can show up [at the dog park], have a good time, and go back to their place," council member Shea Flinn said. "At the animal shelter ... that's a public safety thing. You can't have a bunch of strays running around."

"It's not for the dogs; it's for the people."

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