It's a dog fight! digitalcity
by Stephen Puibello
Reprinted with permission of Digital City Boston/America Online

Boston, like many municipalities, has a leash law that requires the owner to keep dogs on a leash at all times. But not all cities require such strict regulations; other large cities have caught up with the times and provide for their dog owners a place to run their animals without a leash. (Click here for details on the dog park concept, or here for news and lists of available dog parks)

Years ago a fenced section on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall was used by local residents of the Back Bay until, then City Councilor, Richard Iannella ordered sections of the fence to be torn down. His action was fomented by local residents complaining about the smell and the noise that dozens of dogs can make.

City Councilor Keane had been looking into a possible dog run between Charles GateÝs East and West, located under the overpass that connects Storrow Drive to the Fenway. However, according to a source in his office, that project was unsuccessful because that is part of the Massachusetts Historical area. Although, he did say that now they are looking towards the Charles River and the MDC for a dog run.

According to a source at BostonÝs Animal Control, there are approximately 65,000 dogs in this city, fewer than 7% of which are licensed ˇ a major problem. But this year's animal control budget of $346,532, like budgets of the last nine years, doesn't include any funds for new and innovative ideas.

I hate to sing the same tune, but there simple arenÝt enough trash cans for dog owners to properly dispose of their dog's poop. This past summer it was reported in both the Beacon Hill Times and the South End News, that city storm drains were being used as trash cans for dog poop. Residents were complaining about the smells coming from sewers because no litter baskets/ dog toilets exist. The same source went on to explain that there simply isnÝt enough manpower in that department for them to get a handle on the problem.

Where is the fun for BostonÝs 65,000 dog owners in a city that does nothing for what amounts to roughly 10% of its inhabitants? The city must realize that one constant responsibility of the owner is taking their dog out to poop. Unlike cats who simply go in a litter box inside the owner's home, dogs are paper trained at first in the home, but must be taken outside.

So why are dog owners singled out ˇ made to feel as if theyÝre doing something wrong?

Where the fun in dodging state police in the South End, or opinionated non-dog owners who express their concerns and frustrations at any random dog owner, simply because they stepped in dog poop three times in the last year.

Pit Bulls were bred to fight. Similarly, the word "pit" can mean having two sides opposed, or pitted against, one another. Because of the lack of innovative programs, public outcry is not addressed; consequently, the city is making Pit Bulls of its residents: the dog owners and the non-dog owners alike.

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FOLLOW UP: Look what has just been created! Boston's new Animal Control Page.

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