2. Training, Preventing, or Removal of Aggressive Dogs: First and foremost, we want to keep potentially aggressive dogs away from children playing in Ronan Park. The fenced dog recreation area will encourage a physical separation of unleashed dogs from children who utilize the park’s unfenced “tot lot” on a daily basis. We also plan to implement educational programs that will educate people on the care and welfare of all animals in the hopes that people will better understand the importance of leash laws, immunizations, spaying and neutering, training, and socialization. These lessons will naturally lead to a better understanding of dogs and how people can have an influence on eliminating negative dog-human interaction. While we cannot force dog-owners to research ways to keep their dogs healthy and safe, a public dog recreation area is the best way to open up communication with adults and children who might not otherwise have access to this type of information.
3. Reduction of Dog Waste: It will be the responsibility of the members of RoDogRun to manage the dog waste situation within the dog run — by providing waste receptacles and bags, removing it when a dog owner leaves it behind, and enforcing that all dog owners using the dog recreation area dispose of their animal’s waste. When Brookline, Masssachusetts established an initiative in 2005 to create designated “off-leash hours” in several of their parks, it was shown that the presence of undisposed dog waste decreased in their parks as a result (source: Boston Globe, 2006).
4. Foster neighborhood unity and camaraderie: Off-leash dog areas provide a social setting in which people can gather and interact in friendship. Scientific studies have shown that people somehow find it easier to talk to each other with dogs as the initial focus, breaking down the usual social barriers that make people in our society perceive others as “strangers.” Over the past 50 years there has been a marked difference in American society as families are spreading out over greater geographic distances. This decline in the strength of the family begs for an increase in the strength of the neighborhood community.
5. Happier and Healthier Dogs: Well exercised, happily socialized dogs are less likely to have behavior problems, all of which result in a decrease in the number of dogs given up to city animal shelters. Unleashed spaces provide opportunities for better behaved urban dogs. Any vet will attest to the fact that the more a dog is socialized the less likely it will become a barker or a biter. Well exercised, happily exhausted dogs are less prone to chronic or lonely barking, thus decreasing police time spent answering noise abatement calls and increasing the quality of living in heavily populated urban areas.