Why are Gunn fields used as dog bathrooms? Schools & Kids, posted by Sports parent, a resident of the Palo Alto Hills neighborhood, on Apr 8, 2008 at 12:33 pm
Please, I have several dogs so don't think we are animal haters.
We have noticed that Gunn fields are heavily used by tennis, LAX and soccer, baseball. When we had a game there last week there was poop on several kids shoes and people's towels. Plus the dogs that are loose run into the games. Aren't there any dog parks in PA?
Posted by BonnieBlue, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 8, 2008 at 3:06 pm
That may be true, sue, but I think the point of the original post is that many dog owners are very inconsiderate and do not respect common sense rules and regulations like cleaning up the feces, and keeping them on a leash.
I saw a woman (very friendly, and not a "bad person!") who was playing with her large dog off-leash at seale park this weekend. I have 2 little kids, and its really a challange to keep track of both of them, so when my 2 year old wandered towards the dog, he went for the dog's ball, and was told by the dog's owner not to touch it. I wasn't highly offended, because its true, but the larger point is that she was the one breaking the law by having her dog off leash - not me. She should have just leashed her dog and moved away.
Such is life. It just goes to show that most laws are meaningless and most people just do whatever the H they want anyway.
Posted by Duveneck Parent, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Apr 9, 2008 at 11:29 am
In one week, my son stepped in dog poop twice at Duveneck! Neighbors take their dogs there. It is HORRIBLE! Plenty of responsible people do it. Remember there was an article and picture with Palo Alto officials and their dogs off leash at a school, talking about it being a networking opporunity? Sometimes, the owners get talking and don't notice their dogs pooping, and thus leave it for the kids to "find".
I have been there when huge dogs have run up on the play structure, scaring all the children. The city should really enforce the law or change the law. For example, maybe dog owners can go to parks from 6am-7am. Or something like that, provided the dogs are known to be safe dogs. But, to stop it, they need to give fines of $1000 per incident. Would stop it right away, and if not, at least fund the police station!
Posted by John, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Apr 9, 2008 at 12:46 pm
Palo Alto is very selective about which laws get enforced. In some circles, it is unfashionable to be seen as a 'law-and-order' type. For example, the sit-lie ban, the camping overnight on city streets ban, the dogs-off-leash ban. It is very fashionalbe, in these circles, to assert that such laws are "unenforceable".
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Apr 9, 2008 at 2:17 pm
I don't think our elected officials, per se, have a lot to do with what's enforced on this sort of thing. It's more a squeaky wheel thing. If people complain, then it gets enforced (for a while).
But, yeah, it blows my mind what dog-owners will let their dogs do--my front lawn was used that way--or it was until I went to the dog-owners and pointed out that my three-year-old played on that lawn.
What got me is that I was near Greer Park at the time, which has a *dog run*. Ohlone's near Greer Park, of course, but you still see people tun their dogs at Ohlone.
Posted by Pat Markevitch, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Apr 9, 2008 at 3:14 pm
The no dogs on school grounds ordinance only applies to school hours. Before and after school hours, the fields are considered open space and therefore can be used by people with dogs. However, the leash law still applies in this case. It is up to the dog owners to be responsible about picking up after their pets.
Posted by fed up and disgusted, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Apr 9, 2008 at 10:06 pm
This afternoon while at my son's baseball game at Duveneck, I watched a large dog, off leash, do his poop not 5 yards away from the play structure. It wasn't even clear who or where the owner was, and of course the poop was never cleaned up. So the kids on the stucture probably ended up with it on their shoes or clothes. If not, then it will be there tommorow morning when shcool starts. Rude and thoughtless! We have dog parks in this town. And dog owners have their own backyards or front yards if they can't take the time to bend over and clean up after thier dogs.
Posted by cat owner, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Apr 10, 2008 at 9:12 am
I own an indoor cat. I am unhappy and displeased at the thoughtlessness of some of my neighbors who walk their huge dogs by my lovely front lawn and sometimes leave deposits. They seem to seek out yards where the owners have worked hard on their gardens. I also have neighbors whose outdoor cats wreck my garden using it as their bathroom.
But when we are talking about schools like Duveneck, aren't we looking at a public health issue for young children, and shouldn't there be better enforcement.
Posted by Dogs are meant to run, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Apr 10, 2008 at 12:24 pm
I feel so sorry for dogs. Crate-training, on-leash laws all the time, everywhere. I won't get a dog in Palo Alto because life as a dog is daunting. Big dogs need to run, you can't do that in the small backyards of Palo Alto. The dog parks, yeah have you seen them. Besides did you see the post on PA dog parks recently. I know, I know those dogs off-leash that run up to the little kids and jump up on them and knock them down, usually licking them in the face and their tails wagging like mad. It's awful. Usually the little ones are giggling and the parents are running over to them to see if they are 'ok'. I know, I know we are so much better than dogs so they just must be on leashes.
Though I do admit, I don't like dog poop on my front yard and SOME people are inconsiderate but MOST do clean up after their dogs.
Posted by not amused, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 10, 2008 at 1:42 pm
Yes it must be so cute to dog owners when their pet runs up to a child and jumps and licks and wags. To a lot of kids it's scary and actions of both the child and the animal can be unpredictalbe. One of them may get frightened and react. A scream, a bark, a bite. It happened to my child and she was bitten on the face. Not so cute. Keep your dog on a leash. And carry a plastic bag to pick up after your pet please. I'm tired of scraping the stink off my toddler's shoes, off my child's clothes, off my car mats, and on and on.
Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Apr 10, 2008 at 4:16 pm
Paul Losch, also from Parks and Recreation, here.
Pat just took over from me as chair earlier this year, and we have been developing an approach to get some public input on various matters the pertain to dogs on and off leash in Palo Alto. Daria Walsh and I will be the commissioners on this matter, and we plan to have some public forums around it sometime the middle of this year.
Like everything else in Palo Alto (or so it seems), it has complications that make it even thornier here than it is in general, and I don't think it is possible to come up with anything that can satisfy all the various needs and address all the many issues that attend the dog matter.
That said, I am of the opinion, as is Daria, that we can improve things in Palo Alto from where they are now. Please keep an eye out in the papers, in other public forums about when we are having public meetings, and plan to attend and participate. This is a local policy matter that really affects people's lives, and I hope we can make some progress on the situation compared to where we are now.
Posted by kay, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 10, 2008 at 4:16 pm
German scientists are warning householders of the health dangers posed by storing organic waste, saying exposure to it, particularly to the moulds that develop as the material decays, can cause skin problems and even breathing difficulties.
Harald Morr, a leading pneumologist, who is also chairman of the German Lung Foundation, said studies showed that airborne mould spores from organic waste could lead to allergic reactions, asthma attacks, hayfever-like symptoms and itchy skin lesions.
"Even just opening the lid of a bin containing organic waste can cause mould spores to be stirred up which, if breathed in, can damage the lungs," said Morr. "The more spores breathed in, the worse the repercussions on one's health can be."
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 10, 2008 at 4:33 pm
I see that the dog run at Hoover has been expanded, but on my few visits there, I have not seen the dog run in use. Any dog owners out there who use it regularly like to comment on whether it has improved?
Posted by I like dogs on a short leash, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 10, 2008 at 5:40 pm
We already have a dog leash law. Why not enforce it? Do we need to see another near-deadly attack, as happened a couple of years ago at a local school? Are you, personally, willing to assume some liability, based on your public vote, if the so-called "friendly" dog attacks a young kid (again), while off leash?
Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Apr 10, 2008 at 6:38 pm
I am not going to respond to the provocative and ill advised question posed by "dogs on a short leash," but I will verify that we do have a leash law in town and it is lightly enforced.
That said, the law is one of the things that the Commission will examine. I have heard already many in the community about the dog matter, including the leash law currently on the books, and I hope as we get into this, there are many others who provide a point of view.
Posted by I like dogs on a short leash, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 10, 2008 at 7:02 pm
Do you acknowledge that there was a viscious attack, by a dog off leash, in a local school about two years ago? Is this provacative of me to ask you this question? Ill advised?
You admit that there is a leash law, but that it "is lightly enforced". Whose fault is that, Paul? Have you insisted that the law be enforced? I think I can almost read your mind, Paul. You are thinking that, since the law is not enforced, you can change the law, becasue it is not enforced (a twisted tautology). Am I correct, Paul, or am I being "provocative"?
Please shed some sunlight on this issue, Paul. If you cannot, or will not, do it, we citizens cannot, possibly, understand what is going on.
Paul, will you support the current leash law, or will you quibble? If you quibble, will you accept the liability that is implied?
Posted by Trina, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 10, 2008 at 9:15 pm
Hush: try walking along the sidewalk on Cowper Street between Loma Verde and East Meadow in the morning. Many times I've stopped to scrape poop off my kid's shoes before crossing East Meadow and into the Fairmeadow school campus. Evidently dogs do their doody on the run and that makes it convenient for their owners to ignore it and keep on walking. Then there are the owners who let the dogs do it along the edge of the pathways in the park and won't pick it up. My 4 year old needs to be constantly reminded to stay on the pathway, watch out, there's some dog poop.
Posted by dog lover; poop hater, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 11, 2008 at 12:56 am
GADAB, Are you implying that those who complain about the irresponsible behavior of some dog owners are not dog lovers? It's the poop and accompanying owner attitudes that bug most of us, not the dogs themselves. Come to think of it, I hope there are dog lovers at the forums, too. The irresponsible dog owners are giving the majority law abiding owners a bad rep. Love-a-dog isn't the same as love-a-public-poop.
Posted by Dog lover for controlled dogs, a resident of the St. Claire Gardens neighborhood, on Apr 11, 2008 at 7:35 am
If you continue to allow dogs on the school grounds and then say its an honor system of enforcement, can you put a fence around the grass playing fields? That way dogs could still go from the parking lot to the bike path walk and run free without doing their business where children play. Also, just assuming that dogs are allowed on non school hours only is no protection. When classes end, there are several hours in the day left and the fields are packed with kids trying to play various team sports. But I guess by your reasoning since its non school hours the dogs can just run free jumping and pooping all over the playing fields?
I have dogs too and I respect other peoples rights by not letting my dogs off leash. At least these users could find a proper dog park. Palo Alto is getiing into a very confusing legal situation if you designate school grounds as dog runs. If someone is bitten can they then sue the city being it is city property?
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 11, 2008 at 8:39 am
I have noticed at least one school where the kids have put up posters and are collecting bread bags, produce bags, etc. and hanging them near their playgrounds for reminders to dog owners to clear up the mess. With all due respect to everyone, I think this is a helpful reminder to those who take their dogs there.
I have noticed in dog parks in Europe that poop bags and special poop collecting bins are placed at dog parks, provided by the authorities, as a double reminder to clean up. Sometimes, even the most diligent dog owner has forgotten or runs out of bags and having them available may help the problem at schools and parks.
Posted by Andrea, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Apr 11, 2008 at 9:12 am
There's at least one park in MV that has a dispenser for plastic bags. I see dog owners diligently pulling out the bags and picking up. Simple concept, looks relatively inexpensive--dispenser on a pole. We should have them in several locations in the parks--no excuses. And I like the idea of school campaigns--posters, bags, etc. Let's put dispensers at those playgrounds as well.
Posted by cat owner, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Apr 11, 2008 at 4:10 pm
The upshot is dog owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets while in public/on other peoples' yards and many are NOT doing this. Besides being unpleasant for the rest of the public (homeowners/walkers/joggers whatever), it is a public health nuisance and may make little kids sick.
So, dog owners can choose to have their dogs do their business at their own homes or they must get with the program.
I have been surprised at people openly stopping to let their dogs even pee right on my plants while on leash (some plants get damaged by this); the other thing is damage done when large deposits are left in the middle of the lawn (obviously a non-leashed dog who was encouraged to go romp around my lawn in the wee hours of the A.M. while the owner took a stroll). We then get the non-pleasure of cleaning this mess up and seeing a large wrecked spot on the lawn.
Many of us have lived elsewhere and not had this problem to this degree and it is DISGUSTING. Palo Altans need to consider their fellow neighbors and act decently.
Posted by Sorry for Dogs, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 11, 2008 at 4:26 pm
I believe that the owner of the dog that made the vicious attack on that young boy in Palo Alto was of the opinion that his dog was not dangerous. Dogs are derivative wolves. How can any dog owner "know" his/her dog?
The real issue is that dog owners are arrogant and demanding of other people. Some of them equate their dogs to surrogate children and/or friends.
How many dog owners have considered that dogs have a natural pack instinct? Dogs off leash tend to pack up, and get excited (why not, they are wolves!). Think like a dog: I hate being couped up all day; I am nervous and neurotic; I want to see my dog friends, and romp around, and join my pack; Sometimes, and I don't really know why, I get this feeling, and want to hunt: other dogs, cats, squirrels, kids, who cares...makes me feel better; Other times, I am looking for something from my opposite gender, becasue there is a certain smell in the air...try stopping me then! My master or owner, whatever you call him or her, is a control freak, and very proud of making me into something I am not. Why was I born?
Posted by Agrees with Sorry for Dogs, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2008 at 9:11 am
I was just out walking by Gunn and two unleashed dogs came up and jumped me, nearly knocking me over. The owners called and called now Boopsy (not the real name). Imagine if that had been a child. Why can't the City of Palo alto designate empty fields as a dog park?
Schools/Playing fields are booked from early mornings to dark. It is not fair to either dogs or kids to designate them as cross used. Ask any parent coach how difficult it is to find playing fields. Mayfield does not allow dogs, so why should schools and parks allow them off leash?
Posted by Get it right, a resident of the Monroe Park neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2008 at 3:44 pm
Barking dogs are not a deterent. The perps are more likely to carry a gun, in order to put the dog down with a quick shot to the head. However, the perps ARE deterred by the thought that the owner might be home, and armed.
The ultimate deterrent might be a technological surveliance system with teeth. Non-lethal glues and nets are being developed. If the perp does a crash-in, he will be detected by the camera, possibly identified by facial characteristics, but certainly detained in his own stuggle with the mess that he is caught up in. In the meantime, the police (and the owner) will be automatically notified.
The perp can just be convicted and serve 4 month under chain gang conditions. He won't want to repeat, because he didn't want hard labor in the first place, and all those Lassie movies will drive him nuts. Sheriff Joe Arpaio approach.
Posted by lamont, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2008 at 4:16 pm
I can't believe that any responsible resident would support am animal owner that allowed their dog to defecate without cleaning up after them. It is sad to believe that animal owners would be inconsiderate of others.
Posted by Sue, a resident of the Southgate neighborhood, on Apr 12, 2008 at 8:04 pm
Do a post count on this thread for how many times it takes for "Get it Right moves on from PACT" to accuse someone of using "perp" (slang for one who perpetrates a crime). I got tired of counting, after two.
Posted by sue mom, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Apr 13, 2008 at 1:34 pm
A dog is a much better deterrent to home invasion than a gun, unless you use a shot gun it is very hard for most people to hit a target unless you practice many times per week.
Similarly a dog is a very difficult target to hit for the criminal and the criminal knows that once they have fired the police will on their way so unless they specifically are after you they will leave the area when they hear a dog.
Of course a trained assassin would not be deterred so easily, but if you are the target of such a criminal then you have have some more fundamental problems and should check you car for IEDs every day.
I am feel my family is much safer with Palo Altans using dogs for protection instead of firearms
Posted by Shotgun Mary, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2008 at 3:55 pm
I listen to my neighbors barking dogs all the time. They could be biting the leg off of a home invader, and I wouldn't notice. They are no more effective than car alarms, which are almost always ignored. If the invader fired a shot or two to quiet the dogs, I would probably just sigh, and appreciate that the barking was over. I would not call the police, unless I heard at least fours shots in a row.
I heard an interview, once, with a professional house thief. He said he only carried a gun to kill the dog, becasue he would not enter the house when people were there, becasue he did not want to get killed by the armed owner of the house.
I have a shotgun, and no dog. Very quiet. Probably effective, too.
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Apr 14, 2008 at 1:18 pm
Okay, so dogs are a deterrent. Fine. I still don't think they should be on school grounds. We have parks in this city--why are we using schools grounds as open space for dogs? Even in the case of responsible pet owners, there's still an issue with urine which wrecks the grass as well as residue.
We have hundreds of kids every school day on those playing fields. I don't see a compelling reason to continue using them as park equivalents after school hours--as others have pointed out, they're used afterschool for sports and afterschool child care.
Dogs in parks--and, yes, I like the idea of biodegradable bags available at the park site.
Dogs, like everyone else, are prone to having bacteria and parasites in their poop. No, it's *not* sanitary or good for kids to play in dung-covered fields.
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 15, 2008 at 7:46 pm
Just come back from Hoover Park where I have been watching baseball for the past couple of hours and also the many dog owners socializing together and not using the dog park. These dogs, mainly large, were all off leash, playing with balls and so on, but using the area behind the diamond where the younger players normally play.
We have a much bigger dog run, but it appears not to be used at all. I could understand if there was no dog run, but here they have no excuse.
Posted by What one parent observed yesterday, a member of the Gunn High School community, on Apr 16, 2008 at 8:43 am
My guess is the school playing fields should just be renamed dog parks. Yesterday at 430 pm, and yes plenty of children were still using the Gunn fields, a large SUV pulled up and the owner just opened the back door and let 4 large dogs out the back to run at will from the parking lot. There was no attempt made to put the dogs on leash, and then walk the dogs to the barren fields behind the playing fields. You might as well just have a pull thru circle where people can drop their dogs off to run completely unattended amongst the children.
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Apr 16, 2008 at 8:59 am
Call the police. If there are loose dogs not in a dog run, it is against the law. It will only be enforced if concerned people report it. I am a dog owner and dog lover, I walk my dog 30-45 minutes a day. Dog owners have a responsibility to exercise their animals in a way that does not endanger children, other dogs or the fields where children play...