A big thank you to everyone who turned out for our latest Members Meeting this Monday to discuss the new PP&R dog policy.
A quick recap of the policy is below:
In January PP&R organized a city-wide workshop for park friends’ groups; PP&R has developed a comprehensive set of regulations applying to all parks. Some of these are laws, some regulations, some simply practices or guidelines. Many of the problems have developed in other parks; these are not issues that have come up specifically about Clark Park.
Philadelphia City Law is that all dogs must be on 6-foot leashes, but not something the police department will enforce; neither is PP&R staffed to enforce this law. The best response to this situation is to have no problems; dog owners form a community that can police itself. We expect dog owners to know what is working in the park and what is not.
In 2004-2006 we had two interest groups come forward: one to build a dog run and another to create a dog-free zone around the tot lot. We (narrowly) voted down both proposals. PP&R has dog runs in some parks, and PP&R will endorse such if there is strong community support, but PP&R will not maintain the facility, staff it, or provide funding. PP&R could also establish a dog-free zone in the park and will provide signage to do so.
PP&R also reminds all dog owners that there is also a law requiring licenses ($16 for neutered/spayed dogs and $40 for “natural” dogs), which also require appropriate vaccinations (rabies, etc.). Registration can also help if a dog gets lost.
Designated organization for low-level problems is Philly Animal Care and Control Team (ACCT) at www.phillyacct.org or 267-385-3800. Advantage is they are open 7 days a week (unlike PP&R) for finding lost dogs, conflicts between owners or animals.
Higher-level problems can be handled by the police department through 911. These would include attacks upon a person or property (including dogs) including personal injury or death.
It was a great discussion covering a wide variety of opinions and experiences. While some noted that there have occasionally been incidents where dog owners interfeared with the Youth Soccer League or out of control of their animals in the bowl, most speakers seemed to feel that things are working fairly well and most people (owners & non-owners alike) are being responsible.
Great suggestions were made for ways that we can improve the community that will merit further discussion and research. These ranged from a new Facebook group for dog owners, to adding additional signage focused on “good dog behavior” and establishing limits to dogs by the tot lot, to proposing a dog run. It was also noted as a reminder that for dog owners who want to use a dog run that there is a private dog run nearby at 48th and Chester. (Another owner noted that currently there is no waiting list to join, it costs $65/year, and the group will meet next Monday April 29 at Calvary Church.)
Frank Chance added that the FoCP Planning Committee would put signage on its agenda and will announce its next meeting via Facebook and the web site. We will also consider adding more doggie bag distribution points.
On a final note, if there are ways that FoCP can help the dog owners become more organized, including appointing one or more to the Board, we are happy to look into it.