Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Should Dogs Be Allowed in Township Parks?

Jim Cieslak displays one of his empty poop bags
Should dogs be allowed in municipal parks? According to The American Humane Association, there are 70-78 million dogs in the United States. Fifty-six per cent of them are obese. But Bethlehem Township Commissioners are unwilling to relax their ban. In April, Karen Berry argued without success that dogs should be allowed at Housenick Park. At the Board's May 5 meeting, Jim Cieslak failed, too. He asked for some leeway on walking dogs through the community park.

"How can I walk my dog from Pheasant Court to the industrial park without going through the Township park?" he asked, noting that he walks along the treeline and away from athletic fields. He's received several warnings from police officers over the years, although he's never been cited.

"We can't tell police not to stop you," responded President Martin Zawarski. Commissioner Michael Hudak suggested that Cieslak walk his dog at St. Luke's Hospital, which is where he sometimes walks his.

"I'm a responsible dog owner," stated Cieslak, producing one of the blue poop bags he carries with him at all times for his pit bull mix Jaxson. "He's the most friendly dog you'd ever want to meet," Cieslak assured everyone.

Though Commissioners were unsympathetic, Cieslak pledged to continue.

"I'm going to walk my dog," he insisted, in an act of both civil and canine disobedience.

Police Chief Dan Pancoast, who also attended the meeting, said later that the last thing any officer wants to do is to cite a dog owner. Cieslak himself conceded that the same officer has given him a warning twice instead of citing him.

Commissioners are just getting used to the idea of people in parks, so I think they need more time. When these issues arise, I think back to my childhood. We used to spend our Summers at the Jersey shore. We had a big German Shepherd named Duke. My father, bastard that he was, used to walk the dog along the beach every morning in clear violation of numerous signs banning them from the beach. The Bishop had a gigantic house at he beach, too, right next to the beach, and early one morning, spotted my Dad breaking the law.

"Sir, sir, you're not allowed to walk your dog on the beach," he called out.

"Ahhh, go tend your flock!" my father replied.

23 comments:

RossRN said...

Communities with pet friendly laws are better than those without. Pets are not a problem, the people raising them are.

Anonymous said...

Seems to be working. Law on books allows cops to oust owners and dog types that aren't wanted, or try to make a day of it. People who responsibly pick up poo and out for a walk get a reminder. Works for me.

Anonymous said...

might want to rethink that photo caption.



or not.

Anonymous said...

Bethlehem Township is in need of change. Looking forward to the next election. There certainly can be a compromise with dog owners. Can the Board come up with something here instead of taking a proverbial dump on its residents?

Anonymous said...

They're animals I say, animals!

Bernie O'Hare said...

6:03, I'd let the dogs out, but on a leash and not allowed on athletic fields.

Anonymous said...

It's mind boggling how anti dog the township leadership is over the years. Its as if we are living in bizarro land where dogs are looked down upon and they aren't "man's best friend". I never grew up in fear of possibly making contact with dog feces. Seems some of these busy bodies obsess over that possibility. This new park should allow dogs and the county should allow dogs at Louise Moore park too.

I would be willing to attend any meeting or engage in any civil protest over these rules.

If you go to Bethlehem's dog park, there are no feces anywhere around the park and that park takes in hundreds of dogs. Allentown has the best park system in the valley and again, there is no constant fear of making contact.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The township has heard from two residents now, complaining about their policy. I think it is time Comm'rs re-think their policy. I get it that dogs should not be allowed on athletic fields, but see no harm in a leashed dog walking in a park. Yes, some pet owners are irresponsible, but stepping in dog shit isn't the end of the world. If the township wants to promote a healthy and walkable environment, this should be encouraged.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"allows cops to oust owners and dog types that aren't wanted,"

As opposed to owners and dog types who are wanted? What are you saying? I think you need to revisit your policy.

Anonymous said...

"Walk your dog at St. Luke's Hospital like I do."

Yeah, trespass on someone else's property rather than walking your dog at a public park that you pay considerable taxes to support. Great logic there, Mike.

Anonymous said...

A better question is whether dogs should be allowed to bring their humans through the park.

Anonymous said...

Keep them off playing fields,of course. Site people EVERY TIME
for not scooping. Fine offensive uncivil action..... NOT STATUS!!!!!

Let this man and other responsible citizens walk their dogs on a leash.
What is this controlling nonsense.
This strikes me as being about controlling bullshit, not controlling dog poop!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

How about encouraging responsible dog ownership by having dog owners who want to take their dogs to a public park take an obedience course--proceeds to benefit the twsp parks dept. The course could be 2 hrs and focused on people manners, including how it is NOT ok to let your dog strain at the leash at every other dog or child that walks by, correct leash and collar size, etc. Responsible pet ownership and outdoor exercise should be encouraged and celebrated, not criticized and condemned.

Anonymous said...

....most responsible owners have already been thru classes with their dogs. Lighten up. Post SIMPLE rules and fine scoff laws.
Period.

Anonymous said...

3:52 Geez...got a little attitude??

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't think so. My guess is that most people would have no problem with a dog in any township or county park so long as it is kept off playing fields. In fact, if more people were out walking their dogs, it might make the community safer. The senior commissioners like Hudal and Nolan are very well informed on this issue, however, and might have heard lots more complaints from people who don't want dogs in parks.

Anonymous said...

Sad when Russia dogs have more rights

Anonymous said...

That guys holding one of my condoms

Matt M. said...

People who have dogs also tend to spend money when they're out with them. Has anyone thought about the positive impact of a dog-friendly park system for nearby businesses? I'd take our mutts someplace out of the great North to walk a nice park and probably get some ice cream afterward.

Hell, it works so well for the Iron Pigs, they do several "dog days" per season.

Anonymous said...

4:45 - Of course they've heard from busy body residents who hate dogs. That's why the policy exists in the first place. The question is are there more of them or more people with dogs that would like some basic freedom to use their parks with their dogs.

Anonymous said...

Hell, it works so well for the Iron Pigs, they do several "dog days" per season.

And there is dog crap everywhere!

No, there isn't. Because this picture idiots like Hudak paint are not reality. They are made up stereotypes from people that don't like dogs.

Anonymous said...

If the same dog owners who use the towpath would walk in these parks,there is a problem. At least half of the dogs on the towpath are off leash and the owners are too stupid to put them back when other walkers or cyclists are coming. Leash laws are in place for a reason. Have to agree with the board on this one.

Anonymous said...

Petition for a dog park. Let them shit there. Human parks for humans! Not for your animals (children are the exception).