Thursday, August 6, 2009

Yinzer Dogs at Large

I was about 8 when the leash laws came to Haverhill, Massachusetts. We could no longer let our Beagle mutt roam the streets at will. Instead, she had to stay fenced in our backyard. After decades of leash laws, dog owners are now starting to demand some leeway. Back in Haverhill, they are trying (and failing) to establish dog parks.

In Pittsburgh, we are lucky to have some dog parks already in place in Frick Park, Hartwood Acres, North Park, and South Park amongst others. But dog-owners want some place where they can go after work, some place that's convenient. And folks in the city don't tend to have spacious fenced in backyards. In the South Side, dog-owners recently took over Armstrong Park at 12th Street, which generated a great hullabaloo amongst area residents and was cracked down upon with fines and signs galore. This generated such a ruckus that Councilor Bruce Kraus has now admirably involved himself in the issue, and plans have been drawn up to create an official dog park in the South Side. Save the hospital, build dog parks, crack down on al fresco dining, what can't this man do in the South Side?

The catch? This convenient, well-landscaped, multi-zone dog park is going to cost the city $200,000 which it doesn't have. On the other hand, some community activists over in Lawrenceville are building their own dog park with minimal landscaping and minimal cost. Which do you think will be built first? And where will the next renegade dog park pop up in the city?

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