"Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it." --G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Kiddie play areas should be dog-free

Spirit Square (photo from bynettconstruction.com)
The City of Coquitlam has rules and regulations protecting sensitive habitat from dogs, but there's nothing stopping dog owners from letting their pets run rampant over the city's kiddie play areas, with the pets pooping and peeing as they go. And, of course, leaving a mess and a potential health hazard in their wake.
Even the most responsible dog owner, who dutifully scoops up his pet's doggy-doo, can't possibly remove the film of stinky residue that's left behind. Moreover, there's no clean-up possible when a dog does Number One.
A dog doing its business isn't much of a problem when it takes place in a big forested park or wide-open median. But when the dirty business takes place in a pocket park, like the highly used Spirit Square adjacent to the Glen Pine Pavilion, it's a significant issue.
Go there most any morning and you'll see all sorts of dogs running around, doing their morning business. And go there in the evening, and you'll see all sorts of young families whose children are running and rolling around on the grass. Something doesn't add up.
That's why I raised the issue at the end of Council in Committee yesterday afternoon. And I'm very pleased to report that, as a first step, council agreed that the City should begin posting signs around Spirit Square informing dog owners that the park is a children's play area and that they shouldn't let their pets dirty it.
I will watch to see how this trial works out. Down the road, we may want to look at bylaw banning dogs from pocket parks, children's play areas, and maybe even sports fields. Several communities in North America (Raleigh, North Carolina, for example) have instituted such rules, and I'm thinking that Coquitlam might want to, as well.
UPDATE: Here's a link to a Tri-Cities NOW story about this issue.
FURTHER UPDATE (July 2): The City has now installed signs on Spirit Square, asking the public to keep their dogs out of the area. Here's a photo of one of the signs:

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