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Magellan98

Are Dogs Welcome in Providence?

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I came across an article in today's Projo "City Seeks Comments on Dogs in Parks" that annoyed me to no end. The city is actually considering banning dogs from city parks - even if leashed! To make matters worse, it has proposed and then canceled plans for a dog park on the East Side. Soon, dogs will be banned from city sidewalks and streets.

Though a native of Providence, I currently live in Norwalk, Ct where there are no less than three dog parks. These are parks (or sections of parks) where dogs are allowed to run free - off leashes! In New York City, while dogs are banned from many sections of Central Park, they are allowed on virtually all paths and there are numerous dog runs. For pete's sake, I was shopping in Bloomingdale's yesterday afternoon with my dog on a leash and not a soul so much as blinked twice.

Now I mention this because I'm actively looking at properties/condos in Providence for a potential move and I'm seriously reconsidering. Until now I've taken my dog parks for granted, but I can't tell you how much they add to any community. Besides providing a place for dogs to exercise, they allow their owners to socialize and likely enhance the attractiveness of neighborhoods to new residents. Nearly every municipality in my area of CT has at least one dog park - these are places like Greenwich, Darien, Fairfield, etc. where owners could just as well allow their dogs to run free within the safe confines of their own multi-million dollar estates. These people send their dogs to doggie daycare, have sitters come to their homes to play with the dogs etc. But every night, like clock work, they gather at the dog park and everyone is suddenly best friends. While I hate to bring her up, prior to the stint in prison, Martha Stewart was a fixture on the beaches of Westport(CT) with her dogs nearly every morning - summer and winter!

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that if Providence seeks to become this cosmopolitan, euro-style city that beckons the young, college educated set as well as affluent families - and even new corporate headquarters - than it must, at the very least, allow dogs on leashes in its parks. But it should also create a very simple amenity such as dog parks that urban hipsters as well as corporate CEOs expect. Where am I going to take my Tucker if I live Downcity or on the East Side? I realize now that I've probably broken countless laws by allowing Tucker to play fetch off his leash in India Point Park when I'm in town visiting my folks. (Now that park would be a perfect setting for a dog run!)

I hate to sound like I'm ranting and raving, but every once in a while I hear something or read something that just makes Providence seem so provincial and backward - and I question whether to return. All those old NIMBYs from Fox Point at the Vision For Providence meetings are another example. For those of you who agree that Providence should have - and needs spaces for dogs, please let the parks dept know!

If Tucker's not welcome than I'm not.

36201319.IMG_7484w.jpg

Tucker at India Point Park

Thank you and now I'll step down from my soapbox.

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yeah, they a bit over the top. If people are worried about dogs they should at the very most setup a strict code of conduct for pet owner's. They are so worried attracting the empty nesters dont they at least exspect a few empty nest's to still have fido?

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I think you bring up some very valid points. I sent a link to this thread to Robert McMahon in the Parks Department.

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I got a reply from Robert McMahon, he's farwarding it to Alix Ogden, the Parks Superintendent.

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I think we need to give the City credit for looking into this issue because, at the moment, the City has no real enforceable policy on dogs. Banning dogs from public parks is only one option, and it is not likely to go over well. Fundamentally, the City has no capacity for enforcing such a regulation (if it were to come to pass), so I would not pin your move on this issue alone.

As a dog owner on the East Side, I have found a number of outlets for my dog to run off-leash. The park along the Seekonk River behing Lincoln School (the one in the article referred to as being near the Red Bridge) is a de-facto dog park. This is well known and accepted by the neighbors, and it is well cared for by its users. Also, there is a fenced-in dog run behind Hope High School off Brown Street.

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Foxpointer, thanks for the tips on "dogparks" on the East Side. Of course I am considering many issues before making the big move, but I think the city underestimates how volatile such an issue can become. Dog-owners are a sizeable special interest group, and to be quite frank, many tend to be the type of people the city is looking to attract - empty nesters, young college educated singles, childless couples, middle class and upper middle class families, etc... The point is, even if Providence weren't to enforce stricter leash laws, the banning of dogs in parks, and whatever other rule some squeeky wheel demands, (with enough press) could garner the city a reputation of not being pet friendly, which won't help attract anyone - at least not people we want around. :P

An old stereotype is that people move to the "burbs" so that their dogs will have a yeard to play in. Well in Providence, particularly Downcity, the city is going to need to provide this "yard" to everyone expected to fill all the new condos and apartments.

If Boston can be the third most pet friendly city in North America than Providence can at least be just as good if not better.

As an aside, doesn anyone have any stats on the economic power of pet/dog owners. I just read that spending on pets has sky-rocketed and that they are becoming big business but have there been any studies on this - or even better - on how pets affect property-purchasing/relocation decisions?

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