Medina gets some pushback over dog park

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 July 2017 at 3:43 pm

MEDINA – The Village Board held a public hearing on proposed regulations for a dog park on Monday, and heard some resistance to setting aside space in a public park for dogs.

Village officials said they were eyeing Gulf Street Park, north of the canal, for the dog park. The whole park wouldn’t be used for dogs. There would be a section with a fence that would be 4 to 6 feet high. The park would be open dawn to dusk, according to the proposed ordinance.

The enclosed area would allow dogs to be off-leash, with the area exclusive to dogs and their handlers.

Three residents near that park said it should be used for children and their families only – not dogs.

“I don’t want to listen to dogs barking,” said resident Art Washak. “I don’t want to look at it or smell it.”

A Stork Street resident said the park, the only one on the north side of the canal, shouldn’t have space set aside for animals.

“We’re taking away a park for kids and giving it to dogs,” the resident said. “That’s wrong.”

Village Trustee Owen Toale said the board has no intention of giving up an entire park for dogs. Trustee Tim Elliott said the village proposed the ordinance to have some rules and keep up with a community need.

“Medina has many rental places and dogs need a place to go,” Elliott said.

Alaina Wilson suggested the village create a dog park in February. She offered to lead a fundraising effort, and a committee of volunteers to help care for the site.

Cindy Davis runs a business, walking dogs. She does it some days for 15 hours.

“I can’t keep up,” she told the board during Monday’s public hearing.

The demand for her business shows people value their pets and want them to have exercise and social interactions, she said.

The dog park would help build a stronger community, helping people to make friends. The dogs would also become better behaved and friendlier with exercise and social outings at the park, Davis told the Village Board.

“We are animal lovers,” she said. “We want to do things with our dogs.”

Village resident Mike Maak suggested the board consider Butts Park for the dog park. That park has more parking. A spot at the park near the creek also has a buffer away from residences, Maak said.

Mayor Mike Sidari said the village isn’t focused on any site right now. It wants to hear form the community about regulations for the park.

Some requirements in the proposed ordiance from the village include requiring dogs to have a current dog license, vaccinations and must have tag on the dog collar.

Handlers also need to insure dogs demonstrate safe behavior and social interaction at all times toward people and other dogs. (Dogs displaying aggressive behavior need to be immediately leashed and removed from park.)

Handlers must also pick up dog’s fecal matter and dispose in trash receptacle. Handlers also can’t leave a dog unattended.

The proposed ordinance urges handlers to be considerate of neighbors and try to keep the park a “bark-free zone.”

The village has no responsibility or liability for injuries at dog park, according to the proposed ordinance.

The proposal also bans puppies under 4 months old, female dogs in heat, and unattended dogs.

Children under age 12 aren’t allowed in the area set aside for the dog park. Children 13 to 18 are allowed if accompanied by an adult.

Sidari said the board will continue to discuss the issue and consider spots for the dog park.

“It may not be at Gulf Street Park or even if we have it,” he said.

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