Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Advocating dog friendly public land.

Advocating dog friendly public land.

All beings are not created equal under the eyes of the law.  We know that dogs do not have the same rights and privileges as humans.  Therefore I am not trying to compare the number of  children and adults using public land for sports to dogs using public land.  I am looking to compare the number of human residents using public land for sports to the potential numberof human residents using public land to run their dogs.  I specifically have narrowed my comparison to baseball because both baseball fields and dog parks typically require large fenced green areas and thus similar resource.

According to the Humane Society there are 77.5 Million owned dogs in the USA.  On average, owners have almost 2 dogs (1.7).  The average household size in the USA is the USA is 2.59.  If you look at households then 118 million people have at least one dog their life.  If you look only at principle owners then 45 million people have at least one dog in their life.

According to the Havard/Yale School of Sports Studies approximately 42 Million youth and male adults play baseball in the United States, in any given calendar year. 

Based on these figures I believe a strong case could be made that the number of people that could benefit from using public land as dog friendly leash free areas is greater then or equal to the number of people that benefit from the use of public land for the purpose of playing baseball.  Also consider that baseball season typically runs between April and November  where as dog parks are useful year round.  The baseball parks I have seen largely stand idle the remaining 5 months of the year.

Examining the allocation of public land in Williamson County TN yielded the following:

Williamson County Park Statistics
Location Baseball Dog Park*
Bethesda Park & Recreation Center 5 0
Brentwood Civitan Park 6 0
Cheek Park 1 0
College Grove Ballpark 2 0
Fairview Ball Park 4 0
Fairview Park & Rec Complex 0 0
Fly Park/Girls & womens Softball 6 0
Heritage Park 3 0
Hillsboro-Leipers Fork Park & Rec 1 0
Judge Fulton Greer Park 0 0
Nolensville Dog Park 0 2
Nolensville Park 4 0
Trinity Park 3 0
Williamson County Indoor Soccer 0 0
Willamson county Soccer Complex 0 0
Nolensville Rec Center** 3 0
Maggies Bark Park*** 0 2
Totals 38 4

*A dog park with a separate area for large small dogs counts as 2 parks.
**Nolensville Rec Center shows as closed however there are 3 baseball diamondsthat are used and only the building itself is closed.
***Maggies Bark Park is not listed however alternatesources confirm that it is the one of two dog parks in Williamson county.

A conservative point of view would be that both baseball and dog park facilities should be left to the private sector.  I would propose, however, that since the infrastructure already exists for baseball fields it would be a more efficient use of public resources to allow dogs in those fenced areas during baseball's off season.  This concept has precedence in that many areas, such as Dewey Beach, allow dogs only at certain times or seasons.  Allowing dogs only in the baseball off season should also minimize the conflict between people who irresponsibly don't pick up after their dogs and baseball players stepping in the aforementioned feces.  Much as baseball and other sports provide a positive structure for children become socialized individuals, an increase in common dog areas would provide the infrastructure necessary to allow dogs to become more socialized to humans and each other.  This should help minimize many of the abuse/neglect and socialization issues that exist in the pet ownership population today.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Underneath the radar

I think that active dog owners spend a lot of time flying underneath the radar. The nail that sticks out gets hammered. Society has built up many many rules surrounding dogs and dog ownership and those rules vary widely. The State of Tennessee has a fairly loose leash law stating that the dog must be under control of the owner, however just about anywhere you turn parks and cities 'strengthen' that law to requiring a leash. For example in Brentwood: "City ordinance requires dogs and cats to be kept on a leash whenever they are not on the owner’s property." Now if this is the way the actual ordinance is phrased it would mean that one could not take their dog to a friends house and let him run in a fenced area. Kassa is not an off leash dog, however these rules certainly can have an impact because they limit what one can do in fenced public areas.
I think there are three golden rules to consider when stretching the limits.
  1. Don't be seen. People love to complain. People have a sense of territory and entitlement. Even if you are not competing with anyone for the space and you are causing no harm, people will still complain. The fewer people around the smaller the probability someone will complain.
  2. If you are seen and confronted don't be confrontational or aggressive. Be calm and just leave. You don't want to make your presence someone's mission when you don't have a legal leg to stand on.
  3. Don't leave a trace. Preferably leave an area better than you found it. Of course pick up after your dog. It also can mean picking up trash that others have left lying around.
I got greedy and forgot rule number 1. I won't do so again.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Kassa the Recovering Racing Greyhound

Hello everyone. My name is Kassa and I am a racing greyhound.. sorry... I mean RECOVERING racing greyhound. I spent 3 years of my life training and racing. Basically I was chasing one high after another. Finally I hit rock bottom and they felt I was ready to move on and be rehabilitated. I was moved into a new home. They gave me a new identity (My racing name was Kassard B). Through warm beds, long naps I have been making the adjustment from my life of racing addiction.
Last weekend I had another big relapse. I don't know if its is some kind of test but the two legger who feeds me took me to the fenced area again and pulled out a red ball. Doesn't he know that red balls are like crack for recovering racers? Anyway ... what you are about to see isn't pretty but I feel it is best to come clean. The two legger said that "X-Racer doesn't mean X-Runner" but but personally I think that he is just rationalizing and enabling my addiction. It is sooo hard because it feels sooo good.
To my good friend Tequila. Solidarity brother. We can beat this thing.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

More Water

Other than having to ratio the drinking water, our area got off relatively unscathed. The creek waters have receded. Some damage was done to Crocket park's trails and you can see how high the water got, but the park was very resilient. This pic is from around the corner from my house during the storm near Publics. Despite this, Publics was open for business on Sunday evening and I saw people working on drying out the contents of the near by church.
Near Publics...
At Crocket Park...
Well I almost feel guilty at how easily we got off given how much damage was done.
The Opryland Hotel (which is I believe the worlds largest hotel) is flooded.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Serenity Now

Nashville had the worst rain storm/flooding in over 30 years this weekend. All major interstates were shut down. Over 70 cars were swamped on Highway 24 and a building got washed down the hill and onto the highway. 65 and 40 were also shutdown and and a 60 mile stretch of 40 is still down this morning. Needless to say we did not venture out much this weekend. Kassa and I did go out during a reprieve and one of our neighbors had a tree down in their driveway. Evidently his work place was hit with a tornado on Saturday and the roof was torn off. The highlight of my weekend was going and getting my chain saw and cutting up that tree This morning it was a different world. Kassa and I really enjoyed the transformation from a truly miserable weekend.