Dog owners deserve respect

Resident upset with new policies at Marshall Field in Vernon

The dog owners at Marshall Field are concerned the community may lose its most popular of the six off-leash areas in Vernon. Eliminating this area is counterproductive because socializing dogs off-leash is important in the development of non-aggressive dogs. It is the dogs that are not socialized that become potential problems.

The off-leash path is a natural landscape that is far from and not part of the playing fields, except for one entrance where it meets the southwest corner of the open soccer field.

Most of the dog owners have been using the off-leash area for many years, and contrary to one person’s remark, it has been in existence for a long time.

Until very recently, there was a sign identified it as the off-leash area.

The dog owners that regularly use the park wish to voice their concerns as they are puzzled by the proposal to impose a regulation that prohibits all dogs from being off-leash. Furthermore, they are frustrated by the negative remarks from inconsiderate officials, which condemns many innocent people and their dogs.

Contrary to what has been said, the majority of the dog owners at the off-leash area are vigilant in collecting after their dogs.

The claim that there has been 15 tickets handed out daily needs clarification. If so, what kinds of offenses, and in what areas of Vernon did they occur. The off-leash dogs are not at large. They are in the company of their owners. Anyone allowing their dogs on playing fields should be fined, but the presence of sports venues does not justify banning everyone else from surrounding areas.

The dog who attacked a man on the playing field was from a spectator at a game, not from the off-leash area. It is unjust to make a connection between the incident and the off-leash area.

Dog attacks are not frequent at Marshall Field. On the contrary, people come from all over because it has the reputation as a safe off-leash area to socialize their dogs.

The dog owners are also taxpaying citizens. Therefore, they deserve respect and have their concerns acknowledged.

There are many misleading statements regarding this off leash area. Therefore, decisions should not be based on these inaccuracies. The kind of discrimination these dog owners are experiencing is disgraceful, and when people engaging in such behavior it is difficult to respect them.

Safety is a top priority for everyone, but there is no 100 per cent in life, and if someone expects everyone to fulfill that idealistic standard, they best not leave their home.

There are irresponsible people in society, and they should be banned from off-leash areas for not controlling or cleaning up after their dogs. Most people who have problematic dogs do stay away from the off-leash dog parks, as they don’t want to run the risk of being sued or charged for a mishap. Responsible people should not be penalized for others’ negligence.

There are solutions to ensure safety, but eliminating off-leash areas defeats the purpose of creating a safe environment, as they provide a space to develop kind non-aggressive dogs that function well in society. This awareness must be present in the community so we all benefit from a safe environment.

Ruth Nygard