Greeley needs more dog parks

By Brendan Hall

The city of Greeley has a law aggravating many of its dog owners. No dogs allowed in community parks.
To avoid any confusion, parks in Greeley have firmly marked where no canine should roam. The penalty for such an infraction may be only $50, but the inconvenience and stress Greeley has put on its dog owners may be worth much more.

With over 30 parks at its disposal, one might assume a handful of dog parks or designated dog-friendly parks would be located in Greeley. Only two such parks exist.
In fact, many of the dog owners who want to avoid the fine from Animal Control will venture to neighbor Evans.

Evans, a city just south of Greeley, is dog-friendly throughout its city parks. Not only does the city welcome our slobbering companions, but it also has dog parks adjacent to its community facilities allowing owners to exercise their pooch in the community park and mingle with other dogs in the designated dog park. This landscape is a model for the way it should be done and brings Greeley residents across the border to avoid persecution.
Greeley resident and dog owner Leslie Pecharich finds it a nuisance to exercise her dog after work.

“I live by the hospital with a park less than a quarter-mile away. But, to avoid fines, I drive 10-15 minutes to Freedom Park in Evans. Something does not add up here,” Pecharich said.

The truth is many Greeley residents bite the bullet and venture to neighboring cities for access to these parks.

Greeley combats these jaunts a few different ways. For instance, dogs are allowed on the University of Northern Colorado’s campus without a leash, allowing for plenty of landscape to exercise your dog. But, that only impacts residents in proximity to campus. For residents on the west side of town, traveling to Evans or Windsor may be more convenient than heading to Eleventh Avenue.

Additionally, the city of Greeley needs to cover its tail from a legal standpoint. Aggressive dogs pose a threat to the well-being of citizens in community parks and frequent bathroom breaks from canines begs the question, is someone going to clean that up? Because the city is committed to patrolling all city parks, those daring to break the law are usually sniffed out by neighbors who subsequently call Animal Control.

This type of citizen’s arrest may be infrequent, but provokes the ultimate question: What do we do about this problem?

For many, the simple answer: head beyond the city limits and enjoy the parks outside of Greeley. For others, living on the wild side and disregarding the city law may be the most economical option.
Ultimately, Greeley needs to change policy.

The institution of dog-friendly neighborhoods many be an answer or designating hours for dogs to roam within community parks would help alleviate the problem. Whatever the solution may be for Greeley in the future, city officials should look next door to see how it should have been done years ago.

Brendan Hall is a senior journalism and mass communications major at the University of Northern Colorado.