Cry havoc and unleash the war of dogs

Oh, for the good old days when it was just North End parents battling it out with dog owners letting their hounds run free over the asphalt of the Gassy park. Now, NorthEndWaterfront.com reports, it's dog owners vs. dog owners in a battle to the death, or something, over their right to unleash their pets in a park clearly marked "No dogs allowed" - complete with photo by one owner of another guy's dogs looking like they're going right for his jugular.

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Meanwhile some neighborhoods

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Meanwhile some neighborhoods be like "Bitch Please, try dealing with some of our problems. Drugs, gangs, trash, turkeys, space savers, bike lanes, phone books, aesthetically offensive handicap ramps......"

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Not really unique to the North End

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This is the problem with any park in Boston.
The arboretum is the worst.
It's absolutely unusable because of the unleashed dog problem

Sometimes it seems like dogs come with a massive sense of entitlement

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The Arboretum is clearly posted at each and every entrance

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"Dog must be kept on leash". But most of the entitled dog owners simply ignore it. It's a huge problem in the Arboretum. And some of the dog owners are cute at playing a game. It's called "keep the dog on a leash, except when you don't". The entitled owners decide where and when they can release the dog, even thought the sign clearly states otherwise.

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And btw

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What you consider a "cute" game may be the owner trying to be considerate. I admit--I let my dog off leash in certain quiet park areas when there are no people around--he loves to roam and run and again, he's small and tends to avoid people and other dogs. And I am scrupulous about cleaning up after him. But if someone comes strolling along then I leash him because I do understand that some people do get nervous around dogs, even little ones. So, for me it's a compromise, not a game.

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Unusable?

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For Pete's sake. Hyperbole really doesn't help matters. As a dog owner who is occasionally guilty of letting my (small, friendly but generally people-avoiding) dog off-leash in quiet park areas but who also understands the concerns of the dog-averse (I've been bitten and been generally menaced by off-leash dogs) I can see both sides but honestly...I go to the Arboretum all the time and very rarely have encounters with any off leash dogs let alone troublesome ones. Saying that they've made the Arboretum "unusable" is sheer humbug.

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Honest about one thing, not about another

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Sally
Thanks for being honest about letting your dog off the leash, when you feel it's ok. However it's not for you to decide if it's posted otherwise. So you are proving the point that others are making about dog owners feeling and acting entitled. And this sense of entitlement manifests itself especially in the city parks whether its a small grassy area in the middle of concrete, or a large formal park like the Arboretum

As for you other point, that you rarely have encounters with off the leash dogs at the Arboretum.... you chose your words very carefully, saying "encounters". My observation is based on what I see, whether I "encounter" the dog or not. The vast majority of the dogs are not on a leash.

Maybe you think that if a dog is on a leash some of the time, that negates the time the dog is off the leash so it doesn't count. My most recent stroll in the Arboretum Sunday saw 9 dogs not on a leash, 1 dog on, then off, a leash, and one dog on a leash. And I saw 2 of the dogs (not on a leash) take a crap, with no clean up by the owners. Try counting next time you're there. Maybe you will be surprised.

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Funny...

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I was also there on Sunday and literally saw one off-leash dog and at least a dozen on leash. Mine was yes--on leash for three-quarters of the walk and off for about ten minutes, most of that off scurrying around in the woods, not racing around or tripping people. I just can't imagine the eagle eye you must have to be spotting all this nefarious activity. Honestly--re people who don't clean up; it's vile and as someone who's usually present with a dog, I have no problem loudly offering them an extra bag--you might think of carrying some for this purpose since it does serve as a friendly kind of shaming.

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Listen to yourself Sally

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It's ok cuz you say so, cuz you just took your dog off the leash for 10 minutes, cuz it was in the woods, cuz you didn't see anyone else, cuz you never see other dogs off their leashes, you know, the ones that every one sees.

And those who object to dog poop not picked up by the owners should confront the owners and perhaps give them an extra bag from their extra bag supply, which they should carry even if they don't have a friggin dog!! .

Wow, just wow. How can anyone argue with that?

P.S.

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The idea of someone strolling sourly through the Arboretum counting dogs is so depressing. If this really bothers you as much as it seems to, take it up with either the staff or with the owners themselves--these are not generally gang members with snarling Dobermans. And please--I am not "choosing my words carefully"--I don't actually believe that I'm in danger of some kind of legal entrapment here. Encounter=meet, see, cross paths with. When you have a dog you notice other dogs, whether they're on leash or off, friendly or not, etc. etc. I saw plenty of dogs on Sunday. I saw one off leash. Does that make you feel better? Next time I'll bring a camera and notebook.

Counting ..

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...is something I started I while ago because I noticed lots of dog not on a leash and rather than jump to conclusions , I decided to periodically count what I see. I'm not making up my count from Sunday. When I first stepped into the Arboretum there was a group of 4 humans and 4 greyhounds running free all over evergreen section. It went downhill from there.
Perhaps you were there at a different time, perhaps you're just making it up. Either way, your "only one dog not on a leash" is not representative of what I and other commenters, even the dog owners, have experienced in the Arboretum.
Since you admit you do take your dog off the leash when you think it's ok, perhaps you are the woman I saw alternating with leash on and leash off. Next time I see you I'll introduce myself. My name is anon.

And perhaps I'm actually a dog who has learned how to type.

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You never know. As you said, I may be being all honest about one thing and then all sneaky and confabulatin' about the other. But I saw no greyhounds the other day so I'm assuming that we did not cross paths. I thought actually that greyhounds, being "sight hounds" who can see a rabbit and then just take off single-mindedly, were never supposed to be off-leash--I've never seen one off leash ever outside a fenced run. But yes--feel free to introduce yourself.

How about

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just obeying the rules of the Arboretum?

What's depressing is your pathetic rationalization that you're special and the Arboretum rules don't apply to you. For all your social justice feelz you post on here, you really are selfish.

You won't be singing the same song after an aggressive off leash dog shreds your little snookums.

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As Barack Obama once said

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when confronted about his smoking "the flesh is weak." I don't believe that I've ever claimed here or elsewhere to be perfect. I jaywalk. I don't always wear a bike helmet. And yes, sometimes I let my dog off leash. But I don't let him bother anyone and I clean up after him, so yes, in my selfish, pathetic way--I justify it. And to your point, if an aggressive off-leash dog is going to "shred my little snookums" it isn't really going to matter whether or not he's on a leash now, is it? But thanks for the good wishes--you sound like a real mensch.

You're part of the problem

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but don't plan to change. Good for you.

It's because of people like you that I can't take my small daughter to the Arboretum on the weekends.

It's because of people like you that I have been chased numerous times in JP by off leash dogs while minding my own business.

"And to your point, if an aggressive off-leash dog is going to "shred my little snookums" it isn't really going to matter whether or not he's on a leash now, is it?"

I'm not surprised that went over your head. Another person playing your off leash game could result in you and your dog being mauled. You're special though, it won't happen to you right?

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The problem is irresponsible dog owners

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That feature is leash independent.

Case in point: idiot woman with a large rottweiler on a stupid zip leash. Dog lunges from across a heavily traveled path, bites my husband on the leg.

Her response "dooon't doooo that!" (super effective) and "he doesn't like people on bikes", meaning "it is your fault that I take him on the bike path after work because you are on a bike on the bike path after work".

But the dog was on a leash ... so she was "responsible" right? Meanwhile, Sally is irresponsible because she restricts the off leash times and controls her dog so it has never bitten anyone. Right?

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Yes, clearly.

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Just like "people like you" are obviously responsible for the aforementioned dirty diapers left on benches. Right? I mean--as a parent you must be responsible for the bad behavior of all other parents? So if you have literally been "chased" multiple times by off leash dogs (do you take walks carrying raw chicken? steak?) to the extent that you can no longer "take your small daughter to the Arboretum on weekends"...it's because of "people like me?" No actually--it's either because you are delusional and paranoid OR because you've decided to do nothing about a real safety issue except rant about it on a anonymous message board. If unleashed, aggressive dogs are a problem to the extent that you describe, then you should have brought it to the attention of the Arboretum staff or animal control. But really--if it makes you feel better to er...unleash online to a perfect stranger about the perhaps half hour her timid 14-lb dog has spent off leash in the wilds of the Arboretum in the past year, then yeah--go for it. Meantime, there seem to be dozens of kids and toddlers freely enjoying the park every time I visit--they all seem just fine.

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Depends on your definition

. . .of "unusable" is. Personally, I can't take my dog there anymore. I keep her on a leash at all times because she's big and a bully mix and even though I've never known her to be the cause of an altercation with a person or another animal, I know that if one happened any blame would be placed on her by default because of her breed(s). So I HAVE to keep my dog on a leash, no excuses and no lapses. Meanwhile, there are unleashed dogs running amok, which is very threatening to my dog because she can't engage in normal canine behavior due to the leash. This makes for very tense and unenjoyable walks for us, so much so that I can no longer use the arboretum, even though I'm the one obeying the rules of the place.

Does that seem fair?

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Fair?

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Well, not exactly, but again, I just find it hard to square your descriptions of the Arboretum with my own experience. It's a huge place. There are obviously the main drags where you are sharing space with a lot of people on a nice spring day--bikers, runners, kids on bicycles, old people, and yes--probably some unleashed dogs, though again, I see them pretty rarely. There are also plenty of other paths and areas that are much less crowded and I can't really imagine that you couldn't find some quieter areas to walk. Not to mention--having been the owner of a bully breed, I can understand your anxiety but legally and from any common sense standpoint, the off-leash dog is the one at fault if one were to tangle with your dog. And no, it's not "fair" but it's part of the complications of owning a bully--meeting their exercise requirements while staying on leash at all times was a real challenge. I'd try Franklin Park though if you haven't already--much quieter and still a lovely place to walk.

Harvard's massive liability

It amazes me that Harvard, which has so many clever lawyers, allows the situation in the Arboretum to continue.

The prevalence of unleashed dogs in the Arboretum has now reached the level of notorious public hazard.

Harvard has stated rules for the Arboretum, but their lack of enforcement is well-known and the Arboretum is now seen as a desirable destination for illegal and hazardous behavior.

If a serious attack were to occur, Harvard would be partially at fault for allowing this notorious public hazard to continue. Settlements in dog bite cases average around 30K, but can reach into the millions for serious cases like death or disfigurement of a child. Costs above coverage by the perpetrator's household insurance would roll over to Harvard. I'm surprised Harvard hasn't run the numbers and banned dogs entirely.

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Unusable?

Are you talking about the Peters' Hill part of the Arboretum? I specifically avoid that area because of the number of unleashed and out-of-control dogs often found at the top of the hill. I have had a few encounters with unleashed dogs in the main part of the Arboretum, but it is nothing compared to Peters' Hill.

The "dog owners are entitled" talk is silly. Take the most annoying subset of any group and replace them for "dog owners." See how well that works? Entitled people are entitled. I doubt their lack of consideration for others changes whether it is their dog, their child, or themselves interacting with the rest of the world.

Oh, and I have a dog who enjoys his Arboretum walks just fine while leashed. Dense, urban parks like the Arboretum are no place for unleashed dogs.

Here we go again with the entitled dog owners

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As many have pointed out on previous urban dog stories, dog owners are a different breed. They think they don't have to follow rules or laws .And city parks, large and small, are where even "responsible" dog owners just say screw it, I'm going to let my dog off my leash. Signs don't matter, laws don't matter, because the cute little poochie- poo needs to run free, poop, and pee.

So most dog owners suck, and because they think they are special, they don't even understand that they suck. That much is established fact.

Since the city wont enforce anything, the question is what to do? I like the idea of more pictures posted online but obviously that doesn't necessarily work. In this case, the proud dog owner just waves at the camera. The rat poison thing, if in fact it was vigilante enforcement, is severe and hurts the dog more than the owner, so that's not cool and not effective.

If any animal control people are reading this, what do you think?

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Off leash okay in dog parks

Those facilities that are set up for dogs to run free are great, and we do need more of them.

However, I get really sick and tired of the people who think their dogs get to run loose wherever there is public property. Sorry, no. Your dog is not "under voice command" if it is 500 yards from you and knocking over garbage cans in an off-trail neighborhood or knocking over elderly people in their own yards. Your dog is not "friendly" if it is harassing people in the park, no matter how many excuses you make that "clearly" demonstrate that "those people don't know how to behave around dogs" and blame others for the dog acting inappropriately.

Your dog, your responsibility. If it can't behave, or you won't be the boss, don't take it to the park and let it run loose. Simple.

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Right on Swirly

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I concur with everything Swirly says. (on this subject only)

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The Fells Dog Psychos

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Sounds like somebody has encountered one.

http://www.fellsdog.org/

A friend sued them because one of their dogs bit his kid and he dared oppose them at meetings - only to be characterized as a "violent anti-dog assaulter". They need to be wormed.

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I'd love to see the research

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I'd love to see the research you conducted that lead you to the scientific conclusion that all dog owners act exactly alike. That's pretty amazing.

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See Republicans, welfare

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See Republicans, welfare recipients, white males, South Boston residents, bicyclists, native Spanish speakers etc. for examples.

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Now you get it

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Sweeping generalizations about dog owners ARE ok, because they're true. And everyone here knows it, even though some wont admit it.

A larger question is why do some humans feel the need to keep imprisoned animals in their midst? One poster here said the only time his dogs were off on a leash in public is when they escaped. A friend of mine in fact does keep his dog on a leash all the time because he is concerned that this particular dog will run away, something which he attributes to the breed.My neighbors are great people but they have 3 dogs that run free in the yard. When I am out in the yard, they bark at me and attempt to jump over the fence

So why do humans feel the need to keep an imprisoned animal, whether it's imprisoned in a yard, by a leash, or whatever?

Technically, he said the opposite

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He said most dog owners.

I won't concede most, but dog owners should know by now that like other groups, you are judged by the actions of the least amongst you. Therefore, when the rest of us have to keep our heads down when we walk else we step in dog poop, when we cannot enjoy public parks that are overwhelmed by off leashed dogs in spite of the signs that prohibit such things, and in a combination of the two when we are afraid of letting our kids play in public parks as they might become deathly ill due to dogs pooping where they shouldn't and the owners not picking up after them, you should understand the feelings of the non-dog owning public.

Reading where I come down on the issue above, here's the oddest thing. I've become a big fan of dog parks. My first experience (the South End one at the Corridor park) was bad, since there is off leashing all around it, and surprisingly I saw a dog about to take a dump in the playground 10 feet away from the dog dedicated area, but recently I've seen what Brookline does, and I've done a 180. The owners are good (I would never blame the dogs, since the owners in the end call the shots) and it makes for much better situation. As long as some dog owners end their entitled attitudes, giving some space to the good owners is a great idea.

So, if you replace most with some and realize that some are making all of you look bad, I would say he is right.

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No need in rhetoric

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Um, the claim (perhaps yours, but all you anons look alike to me) was that the original poster made a statement that all dog owners are self entitled, which he didn't. I noted that the behavior of one or some reflects poorly on the group. Therefore, no data is required.

However, I did do an informal survey on my 2 mile walk today. 50% of dogs I passed, while walking streets, not in parks, we're unleashed. The sample size was 2, but even if the sample size was, say, 20, that's 5%. Therefore, some.

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need a law with teeth

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Do the signs still say $25 fine for letting a dog unleashed? Letting the dog defecate in a park? It's a joke.

It's a public health hazard. You can be arrested for spitting on the subway. Why not for letting your dog crap in a park? Kids step in it, roll in the grass. Every parent in Boston has had the experience.

Pass a new law making it a criminal misdemeanor which you can be arrested for, send a few plainclothes staties or BPD out in parks. Or give it to Environmental Police.

You see these dog owners in the park, letting the dog off the leash and insouciantly looking away when the dog squats to take a shit.

Slap the cuffs on Muffy for letting King lay a massive load in the Arboretum, send her right to the cell at West Roxbury Court for arraignment. Word in the "dog owner community" will get 'round.

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Here's a simpler idea

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Have dog officers patrol parks.

Other cities have them. If we are going to have the laws on the books, enforce them, and I don't see the value of sending actual police officers out to do it. Hire, say, 10 people. In the beginning, you know that they would pay for themselves with fines. Heck, go zero tolerance to start, cart away any dog without a license, and see how behavior would improve.

I love that there's the guy in Newburyport who wants DNA for the dogs to track down the poop leavers.

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Well....

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I love that there's the guy in Newburyport who wants DNA for the dogs to track down the poop leavers.

There are several apartment communities around the country that have had amazing success with DNA tracking of residents dog poop. In some cases, poop problems have almost vanished due to the owner being fined if their dog's DNA matches poop left unattended.

My dog is not allowed off leash due to her tragic upbringing, but my first two dogs were off leash, but only in places that allow off leash. There are too many variables with off leash dogs in on leash parks and I would never want my dog taken away because she did something while off leash. And as far as the Arboretum is concerned, I would never take my dog there, it's a museum for Chrissakes. Dogs should not be allowed there at all, IMHO.

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No

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You'd be able to sort through that based on preponderance of the evidence. There's other information you can get from feces like hormone levels, gender, etc. that would further be able to isolate prey (as it were) from consumer.

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Instead of the dog owner

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Instead of the dog owner hating why not come up with a SOLUTION for all parties? I am a proud dog owner that walks my dog on a leash. Yes, I have been known to let him off on a rare occasion in a public place if no one is around - very early in the a.m. or later at night but he is pretty much on leash. To be honest at this point I don't bring him to parks much anymore b/c of regular old humans who don't watch their kids and they come running up to my dog whilst their parents sip their mocha double espresso with a twist 500 feet away. On the occasions when this did happen I put my hand up to the child and told them to stop. I then explained to them how to properly meet a dog, teach them why it was important not to run up to a leashed (or any) dog that they do not know & then showed them how to give the dog a treat in the proper manner. Some parents did apologize and appreciated the dog lesson which is a great win-win. Some didn't.

But let us not forget that dog owners also pay taxes (just like you!) for public spaces but aren't given any space to use for our dogs - at all. Yes, we too should have some space and privileges! And before you bark the few spaces there are really don't count. The few tiny spaces in the entire city are not runs or parks – they are pathetic tiny pieces of space. You all want dogs to be properly trained, socialized, etc. then realize that dogs also need places to run free and socialize to be that way (along w/ training from their owners).

You can't have all these rules for dog owners but then not agree to give them anything at all. Or use the ridiculously small and few spaces there are as a playground for yourself or your kids (and yes that happens). I don't like dog poop around either so when I see a fellow dog owner not pick up I offer them a bag or sometimes I just pick up the poop that others have not (sometimes you really can run out of bags and I like to think of it as a karma poop pick up). But you should be just upset at the garbage strewn all over by humans - why is that ok? Do you pick it up when you see it or say something to the people that throw it in front of you? Why is it ok that at the Arbs and the Pond I have sat next to a dirty diaper or garbage on a bench and /or ground?

And just b/c I'm grumpy today for all of you dog haters remember it was dog owners that made the Arbs, Pond and other spaces safe for you to walk/use b/c many moons ago it was only dog owners that were going to these places when you didn't think it was a safe place to live.

So you admit that your dog is not on the leash sometimes

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Again proving the point, you think it's ok to take your dog off the leash because you think it's ok, because of the time of day, the phase of the moon, or whatever. It's not for you to decide when it is and is not ok. Another entitled dog owner, and proud of it.

And you claim it's dogs that made the Arboretum safe? Huh? Many moons ago only dog walkers used the Arboretum? You just made that up.

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Yes, I did it at one point on

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Yes, I did it at one point on occasion at about 5 in the morning in the winter when it was dark out. Yes, lots of people out then. I didn't say I was right - I admitted that I had done it. Clear?

The only thing I feel entitiled about it coming up with a common solution which you and others don't seem to be ok with. You can call me an entitled dog owner if it makes you feel better b/c I guess I am as I walk my dog on a leash, pick up the poop, pick up non human trash from the entitled humans that throw it oh yes and still pay taxes that help keep the parks clean, build the roads, pay for schools which I have no children in (which I am cool with).

All dog owners are asking if for some "play grounds and open spaces" for our companions. What solutions do you suggest? Do you have any as I would love to hear them. People coming up with ideas together is a great way to get things going. Fine me for leaving poop or fine another for having a dog off leash. Ok, sounds fair. How about all parks have doggie bags available & more trash cans? How about special hours in all parks and beaches for off leash - let's say 5-8 a.m. and 6-9pm?

And you are right, I should have been more specific it wasn't only dog walkers but there was a point a long time ago that a lot people who were not from the area that would not walk through the Arbs/Pond at dawn or dusk b/c they did not think it was safe. People with dogs did though.

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Parks weren't made for dogs

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Hate to break it to you, but parks were made for people, for the idea that people need fresh air and exercise. Unless you can point out where Olmsted had the idea that parks were for the owners of dogs who live in places were there should be no dogs, like the North End, your logic is a bit off. I do not live in the North End, but even I know it is no place for a dog. However, I have seen large dogs with obviously clueless owners.

Solution 1- ban dogs. As a compromise, only allow dogs for people who live on fenced in properties. The dogs could romp whenever and however they want, and as long as the owners don't mind a poop filled year, the dogs could poop as they wish. I don't think that this is a good idea, but you asked for a solution.

Solution 2- owners keep their dogs on a leash when they are outside and must pick up after their animals. Owners can have dogs. Everyone is spared "friendly" dogs and their "gifts" to us. That would be the status quo.

Solution 3- keep solution 2, but set aside some parkland, fenced off, where dogs can roam free. This is being done, but surprisingly the entitled dog owning community (as opposed to the responsible dog owning community) still have an issue with this. Look at what is happening in West Roxbury. Dogs are not allowed off leash in the ecologically sensitive lower areas of Millennium Park and shouldn't be in the soccer fields on top, yet they do roam. O'Malley has tried to work on a dog park in the area, but surprisingly some owners object, as they fear that the existing rules will be enforced.

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Mutt mavens chafe

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.. at any efforts to dissuade them from their obstinate imbecility.

The mere fact that they are projecting a whole puke load of miserable idealized saccharine bullshit on a harmless and helpful canid tells you all you need to know.

Lassie fantasies. Lonely miserable twits who draft an innocent pooch to be that perfect companion that evades them in real life.

And they do not handle no well.

It is their world and the rest of us are doomed to live in it and sidestep the fido fewmets they so readily strew.

Of course there are readily identifiable places all over the area where rover can run as free as the whistling wind but these assholes would rather just insist they can do what they want wherever whenever.

But, stick with your shtick and you're stuck with your shtick. Basically being alone and isolated because the very defects that made them deploy a dog in this fashion are the ones that make them pathetic failures at basic human social stuff.

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Fewmets indeed

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"sidestep the fido fewmets they so readily strew"

Chris, you are awesome.

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Where are these large areas

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Where are these large areas in Boston that rover is ok to run free. Please list as I am obviously not aware of them and would love to know! As for being pathetic at basic human social stuff I must live ina dream world. Great spouse, great circle of friends, good job with great working relationships oh and a great 4 legged pal. I guess I suck at this human stuff.

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Just outside Boston...

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Are large things called State Forests with minimal mutt rules.

There are also things called Wildlife Management Areas (hunting preserves).

There are things called urban wilds such as the natural wooded areas along the Charles.

With a little effort and research you can basically bring muttsy to nearly any imaginable ecotone and tralala your Lassie-ness til the old girl hauls the cows home with a bark and a snarl.

There are also these things called cities and, as many other worthier members of the commentariat above have noted, they do suck for dogs and they do have more complex human contract deals and crazy people do go ballistic and spread toxic stuff around.

So if you really care about bowser and it isn't just there to make you feel good about yourself, you might learn how to spoil Old Yeller more skillfully by actually going on excursions to these places regularly.

You can also blow the stink off of yourself.

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Brookline has several

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It was at the park on Brookline Ave (or is it Boylston Street) where I came to love the concept. A compromise was worked out where certain times of the day have off lease hours, while other times dogs are verboten. This is an official town policy, as opposed to when owners have decided on their own.

Now, perhaps Milleneum Park might have one by now, but of all things it was the dog owners who said no, as their precious little things would no longer be able to trample the fragile wetlands or poop all over the youth soccer fields but would rather be directed to the off leash section of the park.

Stony Brook Reservation looks like the plans are set. Dog owners and conservationists are working on a plan that will dedicate space without harming the environment.

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I'm a very responsible dog

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I'm a very responsible dog owner as are thousands of others in this city. And again tiny fenced off places don't work for people with larger dogs. I am all for fenced off areas as long as they are big enough to support all types of canines. It's just like schools - you don't 50 kids per class room as it doesn't work out well. But alas, I always though it was the people with kids in this city that felt they were entitled to everything going their way. Maybe that's just me.

These posts just show that we as a community have a long way to go to finding a solution that works.

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Don't own a large dog in the city

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I am all in favor of dog parks, but downtown/North End, no, there's just no space.

I am following closely the plan for the Stony Brook Reservation. That could be good. Then maybe they could start cackling down at the Arboretum and Milleneum Park.

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You lost me...

When you mention class size in school as somehow related to dog park size. If you choose to get a big dog and live in the city, it is your responsibility to find a place to exercise him/her. It is not the city's job to create space where you can allow your dog off-leash unsupervised. And, in my experience, that is what dog parks are. Places for dogs to run around while their owners socialize and breathe in the sweet smells of dog pee and hidden poo stashes.

There are a ton of great outdoor spaces within a 30 minute drive of Boston. Get your dog there - you'll both be happier for it.

Everyone has choices. Some

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Everyone has choices. Some people want children, some don't. Some people want dogs, some dont. Thing is everyone must share their community and if they choose to live in the city, open spaces need to be shared.
Your post came off kind of snarky, but that could've been my interpretation. I am sure the dog owners pay the same taxes as everyone else and should be able to enjoy their life in the city as anyone would.
Nothing wrong with wanting a size appropriate dog park in the city. And no, dog parks do not smell. .

Shared space...

It sounded to me like the original poster expected the city to accommodate their big dog. If that was indeed their point, I think they are incorrect. To me it's akin to someone buying a 2 bedroom condo and then complain to the city that it is not big enough for their family of 4. We do all have choices and if someone chooses to live downtown and chooses to get a large dog, it is up to them (not the city) to figure out how to exercise it. There are plenty of less dense neighborhoods within the city limits where owning and exercising a large dog is a snap.

I have a dog and no kids and find it bizarre when people equate their dog's needs with the needs of children. I love my dog, but he's a dog. Not a human. Different deal entirely.

And, yes, some dog parks do smell. The smaller ones I have been to in particular. There is only so much urine and poop an 80X80 plot of land can absorb.

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"Severe"? "not cool"?

I grant that people who don't pick up after their dogs or control them, all the time, deserve a special place in Hell. That said, you trivialize leaving rat poison around where a leashed dog can get at it and YOU have the effrontery to call OTHERS "entitled"? My dog isn't perfect but he never judges me, never lies to me and is pretty transparent. You and dogs don't hit it off? I think I can explain it. They usually don't like assholes.

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Nice comment "aging cynic"

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So you think I'm an "asshole" because you think I "trivialized" rat poison. And even worse, you accused me of "having...effrontery".

Please get a grip on your out of control emotions. Maybe have a Sam Adams (oops, that's another discussion). Your premise that I have a problem with dogs is incorrect. It's not the dogs that I have a problem with, it's the entitled owners like you who think a good way to engage in a discussion is to call others assholes. If anyone is trivializing the issue, it's the dog owners who think its ok to ignore leash laws and signs that say "no dogs". Several have posted here openly admitting that they take their dog off the leash, because they personally determined it's ok, despite laws, rules and signs. So who is trivializing?

My point in bringing up rat poison refers back to dog owners complaining about rat poison in Boston parks, as discussed in the past on UHUB. As several people pointed out, the issue would in fact be trivial if the entitled dog owners would just keep their dogs on a leash under control.

Improper use of poison is never trivial

As several people pointed out, the issue would in fact be trivial if the entitled dog owners would just keep their dogs on a leash under control.

No, it wouldn't be trivial if all dogs were leashed. It is a hazard to humans. It is a hazard to wildlife - including types of wildlife that are far more effective than poison at controlling rats.

Someone putting out rat poison like this is at best ignorant of the consequences of their actions, and possibly doesn't care because they hate all animals, and highly irresponsible in any case. What is clear is this: they are NOT helping the situation.

It isn't "being a good citizen", it is sociopathic.

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Very well said Swirley but I

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Very well said Swirly but I really don't think this poster understands. Maybe he/she hasn't been around animals much. I certainly hope this poster hasn't or would never throw rat poison around.

Agree with the No Off Leash policy

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Over the past few years I've read about studies that suggest that unhealthy bacteria in urban environments is due to the quantity of dog feces that is not cleaned up. One article is this: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110818190602.htm . I mention this in the context of dog owners who leave their dogs off leash for 10 minutes or 30 minutes. When the dog is able to walk where it wants then if the dog winds up in an area where the owner does not see the dog for a few minutes and the dog defecates in that spot then the most scrupulous owner will still not see the feces. The result is that they are inadvertently contributing to the problem of bad bacteria because they let they dogs roam off leash if even for just 10 minutes.

Another reason for not letting a dog run off leash at all is that no one can assume that they have absolute control of their dog at all times. A dog trainer pointed this out to me. No matter how well trained dogs are still instinctive creatures and under the right conditions instinct will override training. So letting a dog walk off leash is always choosing to risk the dog will run if excited or frightened by something unexpected (such as another off leash dog).

Off leash dogs are a danger to themselves. No one knows whether a leashed dog is dog friendly just by looking at it. But if the unleashed dog walks to a leashed dog (which happens often enough with my pooch) then if the leashed dog is not dog friendly there may be an altercation resulting in one or both dogs being harmed. The harm might only be a fright for owners and dogs. But why take the risk? Why let a dog run off leash for 10 minutes and take the risk that there will be violence between the off leash dog and another.

The Arboretum is notorious for off leash dogs. It has gotten worse over the past few years.. The signs stating that leashes are required were not set up until the last two years I think. There probably are times when most dogs are leashed but there are times when I have seen up to 5 dogs along the path starting at the main building where everyone can see what is going on. On the less frequented paths there are more off leash dogs.

Off leash dogs are not just at the Arboretum. I've seen plenty of dogs allowed to run off leash on school fields. That means that kids have to deal with dog feces on the fields when the owners don't see their dog defecate and so don't pick up the feces.

Entitled is not the word I use to describe dog owners who let their dogs roam off leash. To me it's more about naiveté and living in a bubble that stops them from grasping the consequences of their actions. I don't believe it's an arrogance of seeing themselves as superior. Rather I think it is a genuine lack of thoughtfulness and comprehension and recognition of the consequences of their choices and actions. I hope that maybe by considering the consequences arising from defecation done when off leash and which the owner does not see, or by the dangers to the dogs when off leash that owners who let their dogs off leash will think twice next time they think to unclip the leash.

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This is the easy thread winner.

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It's what thoughtful and sensible dog ownership looks like for those who may be wondering.

And I love the kind of paraphrase of Napoleon that could also be rendered as.

"Never ascribe to arrogance and malice that which can be explained by self absorption and Narcissism"

The duuuh factor.. it's what's in the park.

I saw Tom Brady

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Let his dog off leash inside the playground along the Charles River, where the sign at the entrance clearly states No Dogs. His dog peed on the slide.