What happens when you don’t have dog parks within easy reach

6_more happy dogsDon’t let the small minded litigators win. Dog parks are vital to a dog’s health. Also fight against: the computer, the restaurant dinner, or any of the other reasons you are not going to a great local off lead park each day.

What happens when you don’t have dog parks

This happened in a little town I visited in the mid west last year. I was there for personal reasons so there was no way that I was going to leave my dog at home!

Don’t worry, now days you can easily find websites to track down decent accommodation for you and your dog that won’t cost the earth. And most motels dont try and gauge the price just because I am a woman!

Anyway, this small town used to have 100% off leash areas, called ‘within the city’ back 100 years ago, just like many other cities and towns. Don’t get me wrong, that is a bad idea too. Given the opportunity for dogs or cats to roam the streets and cause accidents they surely will. but at the same time back then, people weren’t glued to their ipod and ipad’s. They talked to one another and were actively engaged with what was happening around them, often outdoors. They looked after their dogs probably a lot better than many people do today.

Back from the sidetrack, fast forward 100 years, and there is only a couple of tiny enclosed parks in the entire town where dogs are allowed any legal freedom. The parks have poor grass, are mostly in the sun and because of the difficulty of getting their for many people, and because with so few parks, people were concerned of the type of dog that might turn up, they stayed away in droves.

Instead they took to the streets to exercise their dogs. In theory not a bad idea, but this is mostly walking pace exercise on lead. It doesn’t give most dogs any real exercise and if anything taught the dogs to be anti social. a few people road bikes with their dogs by their side, but this can be dangerous and the hard roads can wreck the dogs legs and pads.

You may also be a little surprised to find that even with a moderate level of dog exercise, the really bad dogs, owned by really bad owners were kept at home the most. The lack of parks gave them a good excuse never to walk their dogs.

And here is the really interesting piece. The number of dog deaths, caused by dogs sky rocketed in the town in the last ten years. Yes with high unemployment, a lot of unskilled bored people who bought big powerful hunting dogs (the ones bred to kill other dogs or large game) soon became popular. You might think with all that spare time on their hands they would be doing more walks, but funnily enough booze and drugs soon replaced any healthy activities they might do like the gym, if they were working.

Want to know how all these dogs were dying?

Vicious, large, unsocial dogs were jumping fences and killing people’s dogs as they walked past. About one a week died, I heard. You would think in a small town that some laws might be introduced to stop this, but the town apparently didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes by banning specific breeds, and they didn’t have the power to increase fines or gaol time, so it just continued.

Funny how as a outsider this all seemed wrong to me.  Or is it just a girl thing? Should I not be worried for the dogs in this town?

Dog parks: get more dogs social, people get fitter, everyone who has a dog, or were being annoyed by a bored dog should be happy.

Dog parks should not be about infringing on people’s rights, it should be about making dogs happy and safe, after-all we domesticated them, own them then seemingly that is the end of our responsibility.