... I have been taking walks at the conservation area on a near-daily basis for the past three years. I do not own a dog. My overall experience has been of encountering responsible dog owners with their well-supervised dogs, whether their pets are or aren’t on a leash. I enjoy seeing a happy unleashed dog in fact, and I enjoy seeing the relaxed freedom the dog walker out for a companionable stroll also derives from likewise not being tethered. I believe that to instill/endeavor to enforce/police a leash law is too draconian. I do not believe the system was “broke,” and I do not believe that requiring leashing would necessarily prevent some of the everyday commonsense risks cited above. Rather, I believe, that a vocal minority’s insistence now on leashing may be a small but reflective example in our culture, of a profound difference in world views. Some people believe there should be more “rules” and heavy enforcement of them, particularly, it seems, in the area of regulating simple human freedoms & pleasures. I believe that there may be a kind of puritanical subtext – those unleashed dog owners & their dogs are having too much fun! There is in our culture a kind of War Against Nature, and against natural impulses. The conservation area represents to me an oasis from the “War Against Nature,” in every respect. It soothes my soul after the soulkilled feeling I get after making my way past the paved-over ruination of Route 9... I enjoy the freedom of walking around in open air. I enjoy seeing people and their pets enjoying their small, simple, clean, healthy pleasures of walking freely outside. I believe that rather than imposing more “rules” to be “enforced” it would be more useful... to clearly state expectations of what it is to be a responsible dog owner visiting the site – encouraging stewardship in that sense, and personal responsibility. A dog there MUST be closely supervised at all times – but I believe it should be up to the discretion of each responsible dog owner (and I have not met, in three years there, an irresponsible one yet) whether in his or her judgment, a leash at all times is necessary.***
I believe that a far more important park management issue, than whether or not a dog happens to be on a leash, is that of too many dog owners not picking up after their dogs. I appreciated a past cheerful, witty initiative on the part of a park user to try to address the issue a couple of years ago, via the introduction of the orange tin spades, hung at the entrance gates, dubbed – as amusing & informative signage revealed – “poopflingers.” I believe those poopflingers were well-used by many dog walkers in the park, and need simply now to be replaced, along with fresh signage. I greatly appreciated the goodnatured humor that went into trying to solve that problem. I offer this as a contrast, again. There wasn’t the imposition of a “law” to be “enforced,” rather it was a commonsense solution to an annoying problem. So again, by all means encourage – spell out – expectations as to what it means to responsibly supervise your dog at the park, but not in a “gotcha” way as to, quite arbitrarily really, requiring a leash. Thank you.
I don't think my comment is the most articulate, and even now I'm feeling a little frustrated. Feeling a little on the leash. A feeling I'm sure you're no stranger to. Darling, I'm rambling, sorry, I'm tired, and a little disgusted with states of affairs, mostly on a way more macro level, only I tend to see things, events, in scalar terms, these days all related.
It's 'til death do us part'. One day we'll walk hand in hand towards the mountains, together at last, unleashed.
All my love.