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Would a Dog Park Truly Benefit Eagle Rock?

On Tuesday, the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council will discuss the issue of a dog park and an ‘animal liaison’ with the City.

Whether or not Eagle Rock needs a dog park is an issue that crops up in community discussions from time to time.

The most recent discussion on Patch was back in January, when we polled our readers on the issue and received exactly 100 votes—85 in favor or a dog park and 15 against the idea. (Click here to see that story and the poll results.)

On Tuesday, the will discuss—and possibly take some action on—the perennial question of a dog park at its monthly board meeting at 7 p.m. in Eagle Rock City Hall.

On a related note, the ERNC will also discuss the possibility of appointing one of its board members to liaise with the city’s Department of Animal Welfare (DAW). The issue stems from a request made to the ERNC, at its most recent meeting on April 3, by a volunteer at the Reserve Animal Control Officer (RACO) program.

“Every community has an animal control issue to some extent or the other,” the volunteer, Paul Darrigo, told Patch recently. The so-called “DAW Animal Liaison” would help generate a variety of activities in the community—such as periodic adoption days—aimed at reducing the population of lost pets in Eagle Rock.

“We do have a 47-percent euthanasia rate in the city, so if the animal liaison can help with any activities that lower the rate, that would be a great service,” Darrigo said, adding that the concerned person could be anyone from the community, and not necessarily an ERNC board member.

The only qualification for such a person, besides an obvious commitment to the cause of animals, would be that he or she be “self-sustaining,” that is, a self-starter, Darrigo said, adding that he would do his best to help the volunteer as well.

The search for a DAW Animal Liaison in Eagle Rock, we think, is the perfect opportunity to revisit the dog park issue. It’s probably also a good time to ask readers whether they think a community dog park will likely have some sort of positive impact on what appears to be a chronic problem of lost pets—especially dogs—in Eagle Rock.

After all, a community spot reserved exclusively for dogs would probably encourage many more dog owners to bring their pets to the space, thereby offering them two things vital to their existence: exercise and socialization with other dogs (while their owners enjoy each other’s company and indulge in all sorts of networking activities not just limited to animals).

It hardly needs to be pointed out that the better exercised and adequately socialized dogs are, the less likely they are to wander away from their homes and end up as a sad statistic in animal shelters’ euthanasia charts—or, as Darrigo told the ERNC early this month, bait for other dogs in dog fights.

That’s right. According to Darrigo, a lot of dogs don’t really get “lost”—they’re stolen by unscrupulous people and used as bait in illegal dog fights.

So: Besides being an invaluable resource for canines and their masters, do you think a community dog park might also help reduce the number of lost dogs potentially headed for euthanasia? Share your views in the Comments box below.

Ajay Singh April 30, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Thanks, Mark—I think the ERNC discussion is in its very preliminary stages. We'll find out more tomorrow night.
Susan R May 01, 2012 at 12:29 AM
I am very much in support of a dog park. And, the location you mentioned is a perfect location too.
mark May 01, 2012 at 12:39 AM
I could support this. I think the Yosemite park already has a parking problem though. How about the ER Rec Center park?
Michael Larsen May 01, 2012 at 02:41 PM
I'm looking forward to seeing everybody tonight and pleased to see so many people are excited about the dog park idea. The bottom line is that it will take a lot of work by those who want to see it happen. When I asked about the possibility at Yosemite, I received these criteria which needed to be met before the the idea would even be considered by the Rec&Parks Board of Commissioners: 1) Council Office/Community Support: Since dog parks must be established by ordinance, following approval by the RAP Board of Commissioners, the proposing group would need to obtain and demonstrate Council Office and community support beforehand. 2) Funding: The Proposing Group would need to demonstrate the availability of sufficient funding for development and future sustainability. 3) Design: The proposers would need to prepare and submit a preliminary design plan for RAP review and comment; which will then be presented to the Board for conceptual approval. 4) Environmental Clearance: Potential environmental impacts must be identified with all required clearances processed. 5) Sustainability: RAP will need to review a sustainability plan (including funding) for future maintenance and repair. This project will not move forward without a group of dedicated volunteers to are willing to answer these 5 questions and do a lot more. I'm sure there are Eagle Rockers who will rise to the occasion!
Eileen May 03, 2012 at 12:58 AM
I may be a little late in responding but yes, I (and my 2 beagles) would love to see a dog park somewhere in Eagle Rock. I would be a great community asset.

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