Opinion » The Mailbox

Leash 'Em Up

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Letter of the Week 

It was sad to see in The Source last week that a group of Ultimate Frisbee enthusiasts might lose their traditional playing field in Sawyer Park to dogs.

At one time, the issue of off-leash dog parks did not exist. When I was young my family had a pit bull, a Scottish terrier, and a lab-German shepherd mix, and we never felt the need for an off-leash dog park. We leashed them up and walked or jogged them around the neighborhood. All of these dogs were happy, and so were we.

Dog owners today, on the other hand, demand large spaces for their pets to roam free.

Why?

People today exercise little or choose contrived techniques to burn calories. Walking has basically become obsolete, and thus the idea of walking one's dog is in decline. Furthermore, people today are super-stressed for time. The problem thus posed is to exercise a dog with as little effort and in as little time as possible. Enter the off-leash dog park and the "Chuck It!," a plastic device for hurling tennis balls; together, they make it possible to tire a dog quickly, while sipping a latte.

All of this would be okay, except for two problems. First, as The Source article indicated, off-leash dog enthusiasts crowd people off of playing fields. Second, the defecatory doings of an off-leash dog are difficult to detect, which trashes the field for subsequent users. Because of these constraints, dog owners should be expected to choose responsibly while selecting a dog. If you have a small yard, do not like to exercise (at least with a dog), and/or do not have time for walks, then don't buy an active breed.

There are many types of dog to choose from. Buying one appropriate for your lifestyle will make it easier on everyone, including yourself. Some dog owners might protest that their dog simply likes to roam free. That's fine, but in a civilized society a dog's likes are subordinate to a human's when user conflicts occur. Moreover, some breeds like to roam free much more than others. If you have chosen a "roamer," then be prepared to roam yourself - either around town with your dog on a leash, or to a remote location where open space is not an issue.

Matt Orr, Bend


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