By Fred Fagan
I would like to comment on the ongoing conversation in the Index-Tribune regarding dogs and the Montini Preserve. I oversee the Sonoma Valley Field of Dreams, which is alongside the Montini Preserve.
On Friday, June 20, I was working on the baseball field at FODs. I watched a couple of men come from the parking lot and allow their off-leash dog to immediately relieve itself where fans, parents and families put out chairs and blankets and watch their kids play softball on Mary’s Field.
They continued their walk, now coming toward me as I worked on Peterson Diamond. I opened with, “Would you guys be interested in knowing why there are no dogs allowed on Field of Dreams?” One guy stiffened and said something like, “Oh, I didn’t know this was considered part of FODs.” I replied, “Yes it is, and there is a dog park right there,” as I pointed to the dog park beside the overnight shelter house.
The guy said the dog park is too dirty, has fleas and there are snippy dogs.
I began to say why dog crap and piss are not conducive to athletic fields that are put aside for youth sports. One of the guys said, “Go f___ yourself, old man!”
I pulled out my camera phone and took a picture of these two as the vocal guy acted like he was going to charge me. Having the camera phone changed these guys’ tune. Lucky for them.
This is not just a one-time-only happening. I have a hundred stories of people walking, running and taking their dog onto Field of Dreams basically as somewhere to do their business where their owners don’t have to clean up.
Folks pull into that parking lot and allow their dogs to relieve themselves on the grass next to the parking lot, without the human owner even getting out of their car. The owners know they don’t belong there, but are always angry when I ask them to be responsible. I could use a volunteer dog monitor force to meet these dog owners as they approach the Field of Dreams.
There are signs and, again, there is a dog park right there. I’m not sure what more dog owners want, but I am sure that many, many dog owners are going to do whatever they damn well please.
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Fred Fegan is a resident of Sonoma. The Sonoma Valley Field of Dreams is a private, nonprofit organization providing professionally maintained playing fields for the youth of Sonoma Valley.