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No to dogs in Montini Preserve, yes to dog park

Letter to the Editor

By

Editor, Index-Tribune:

There are several issues raised by allowing dogs in the Montini Preserve, many of which have already been discussed in public forums.

While many dog owners are responsible, there is a percentage of dog owners who do not feel the need to leash their dogs, or clean up after them.

Who will fine the owners who let their dogs run free? Who will clean up the trails of dog poop left by that smaller percentage who don’t feel obliged to follow rules?

Historically, people on trails where dogs are banned, or should be kept on a leash, are hesitant to say anything, fearing a confrontation with someone who clearly doesn’t care much about the opinions of others or the consequences to others of their actions.

If the dog owners who want to use public spaces pay a fee, and if that fee goes to pay a uniformed ranger who can police the trails and manage the small minority of people who don’t care about rules, then those who adamantly oppose the use of these spaces might be addressed.

Also, paying someone to clean up after the dogs of that small percentage of people who don’t feel that rules apply to them, may also help address some concerns.

Unfortunately, the actions of a few outliers does spoil it for those who follow the laws. Self-policing and voluntary cooperation are notable for their failure to meet the need in situations like this.

Short of some concrete, enforceable remedy like this, I would also vote “no” to expanding the use of this preserve to dog use. I would support the purchase of separate, fenced, dedicated dog parks for dog owners, just like playgrounds for those with children, as public investments in quality of life for the community.

Joseph Cutler

Sonoma