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Dogs should not roam freely in park

Amherst Bee,   February 11, 2009 / Letters to the Editor

    This winter I have used Amherst State Park many times as a cross-country ski venue, reveling in the peaceful beauty I find there. The park is also visited by dog owners and their pets. Though signage clearly indicates dogs are to be kept leashed, many pet owners let their dogs roam freely. I have been approached by strange dogs on numerous occasions, their owner's whereabouts not readily apparent. Up to now, the dogs in question have been friendly, content with a quick pat. But what if the dog was aggressive and decided to bite? Not knowing who owns the dog would result in my need for expensive rabies treatment.

    Or consider the park visitor who is frightened of dogs. Being approached by a dog would be a traumatic experience for him or her. Further, what if an aggressive dog has territory issues with another dog and a fight ensues? I can see lawsuits being filed, most likely against the town.

    The signage also indicates dog owners are required to clean up after their pets. From the numerous piles of dog droppings, this clearly is not the case. Even though Amherst town law requires dog owners to clean up after their pets, I have seen dogs doing what dogs do, while their owners stand by, doing nothing to undo the dog doo.

    One can imagine the unpleasant pungency of a ton of rotting dog droppings on the first warm spring day.

    Since police enforcement of the leash and pooper-scooper laws is unlikely, it is left to the pet owners to be responsible for their pets. So a plea to the pet owners: please be considerate of others who use the park, keep your dogs on a leash and clean up after them.

Larry Dudeck


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