Something stinks in our neighborhood parks

Dogs are cool. In fact, I have one myself. He’s a pain in the rear end sometimes, but I love him, so I’ll keep him around for now. One problem I continuously run into around here is finding a decent place to let the little guy run like the wind off-leash, which is the only reason why I’ll soon be paying another $100 a month in rent for a huge yard. 
As you might know, dog owners scored a significant victory in Encinitas when council agreed to expand off-leash hours at several city parks. Since then, a great rift has divided those who step in dog poo at the park and those whose dogs leave the stinky surprise, thus creating a classic Us vs. Them situation.
It seems since council ruled on expanding off-leash hours that dog owners have taken the haughty high ground, leaving their irritated neighbors wondering how to remedy it all.
The only way to make both parties happy is to establish several dedicated, fenced-in dog parks throughout the city. It makes perfect sense, but the dog folks don’t want to be inconvenienced with having to load the pooch in the car and drive all the way to the dog park. They prefer something within walking distance, such as a neighborhood park.
While this scenario would certainly work in a perfect world, most neighborhood parks around town aren’t large enough to support packs of off-leash dogs for several hours per week. Parks are for humans, not dogs. I’m sure famous landscape designers such as Frederick Law Olmsted would agree with me.  
I’ve been apathetically following this Encinitas dog drama on the Leucadia Blog. Mr. Steve Mieche lives near Orpheus Park and has gathered enough evidence to convince even a dog lover that off-leash hours at his neighborhood park aren’t the best idea.
While I personally find it amusing that someone would have enough time to count piles of poo poo all day, I applaud what Mr. Mieche is attempting to do. He’s showing the community tangible evidence to support his cause, when oftentimes we let our emotions guide city policy.
I don’t personally know the guy, but I’d like to think Mr. Mieche isn’t attempting to discourage use of the park by somehow driving off the nonlocals with propaganda. He’s simply documenting the degradation of his park, hoping the city will take his evidence into consideration.
And if you’ve seen any of Mr. Mieche’s evidence, you know that one of the biggest problems with off-leash hours at public parks is that the poo isn’t being picked up. Parks such as Orpheus will deteriorate with excessive off-leash dog use. If you’ve ever had a backyard and a dog, you know exactly what I’m getting at. 
In fact, the EPA defines dog poop as a “nonpoint source of pollution,” placing it in the same category as oil and other toxic chemicals.
Even better, the EPA estimates “that two days of droppings from 100 dogs would contribute enough bacteria to temporarily close a bay and all watershed areas within 20 miles of it to swimming.” Sweet. We should let our kids play in the stuff.
I think this comment on the Leucadia Blog sums it up best. “I wish these people would use their front door and areas in their yard where their children play for their dogs to s—t and p-ss.”


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