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Posted on Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 3:02 p.m.

Ann Arbor residents want dog parks within walking distance from their homes, survey finds

By Ryan J. Stanton

Ann Arbor residents want more dog parks, and they want them within walking distance from their homes, according to a new survey.

Next to cleanliness, survey respondents cited being able to walk to the park as the second most important feature in a dog park, followed by shaded areas, size and water fountains.

Parking, lighting, benches, restrooms and dog amenities — like toys and sandboxes — were lesser concerns, the survey found.


Dogs enjoy some quality time at the Swift Run dog park last summer.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The city's Park Advisory Commission has a dog park subcommittee that's trying to figure out potential locations for new dog parks in addition to the two the city already has on the outskirts of town.

One of the hopes is to find a more central location for dog owners in neighborhoods closer to downtown.

More than 1,500 people responded to the survey, 67.5 percent of whom said they have dogs, 26.2 percent of whom said they didn't, and 6.2 percent of whom said they were planning to get one.

Nearly 70 percent said they don't use dog parks right now, while 23.5 percent said they use Swift Run and 11.5 percent said they use Olson Park.

The survey found this:

  • About 68.8 percent of respondents said they'd use a dog park either daily or weekly if it was within a quarter-mile from where they live.
  • About 63.5 percent of respondents said they'd use a dog park either daily or weekly if it was between a quarter-mile and a mile from where they live.
  • About 43.7 percent of respondents said they'd use a dog park either daily or weekly if it was between one and two miles from where they live.

Fewer people were willing to use a dog park more than two miles from where they live, with only 3.4 percent of respondents saying they'd use it daily, 17.9 percent saying they'd use it weekly, 29.7 percent saying they'd use it monthly and 49 percent saying they'd never use it.

A majority of people said they'd use a dog park between 4-7 p.m.

A public meeting scheduled for Tuesday night to discuss the future of dog parks in Ann Arbor has been canceled, city park officials said.

However, another public dog park meeting is still planned for 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at Cobblestone Farm, 2781 Packard Road.

The city's website also lists another dog park meeting planned for 7 p.m. Sept. 24 at Traverwood Library, 3333 Traverwood Drive.

Park officials previously identified a portion of West Park as a potential location for a new dog park just west of downtown, but the city received pushback from the New Hope Baptist Church across the street and the idea was taken off the table.

City officials also have discussed developing a dog park as part of the plan to transform a former city maintenance yard at 721 N. Main St. into a greenway park.

Some also have suggested Wurster Park off Madison Street, an idea that residents in the area have mixed feelings about. Some are lobbying for it, and others are rallying opposition.

Some survey respondents cited concerns about aggressive dogs and unsanitary conditions as reasons why they're hesitant about dog parks.

In the case of Wurster Park, some neighborhood residents said they don't want to lose areas where their children play and go sledding in the winter.

About 61.6 percent of respondents said they would support a dog park in their neighborhood park; 50.7 percent said they would support a dog park in a larger communitywide park; and 28.3 percent said they'd support them in as many places as the city would provide them.

About 24.6 percent said they don't want a dog park in certain locations and 13.8 percent said they don't want a dog park anywhere in the city.

Survey respondents suggested several neighborhood parks where they'd like to see dog parks, including Allmendinger, Bader, Beckley, Buhr, Burns, Clinton, Dolph, Esch, Fritz, Hollywood, Hunt, Lansdowne, Maryfield, Miller, Northside, Sugarbush, Sunset, Veterans, Virginia, Waterworks, West, Wheeler, Wildwood, Winchell, Windemere, Wurster, among others.

A majority of respondents said they'd volunteer to do cleaning and landscaping at a dog parks; 45.1 percent said they'd help organize events and 33.2 percent said they'd help raise funds.

The survey also gauged support for designating specific times in portions of some city parks for "off-leash hours" where dogs could run off leash without fences; 40.1 percent said they supported that, 46.1 percent said they didn't support that, and 13.8 percent were unsure.

Survey respondents indicated that having to drive out to the two existing dog parks is an obstacle for them for various reasons — either because it's too far, they don't have a car, or their dog is fearful of car rides — but they would use a dog park closer to their home.

One person wrote "they are poorly located on the fringes of town" and "driving five miles to a dog park is silly." Another wrote: "I'd like to be able to walk to the park, not have to drive to the park."

One person offered a sarcastic response to a question asking what's nice about the existing dog parks: "Swift is great because it is right next to the city dump and a really long drive from downtown, where I live. I enjoy any excuse to drive in Ann Arbor traffic."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Tue, Sep 3, 2013 : 4:58 p.m.

No point in building dog parks if leash laws are not enforced in our city parks. Running in Bird Hills has become a dangerous activity. I now carry pepper spray in those parks


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 1:16 a.m.

Until they find a solution to enforce dog owners to clean up after their dogs at the Ellsworth dog park, or for that matter any dog park, I will not be taking my dog to a dog park anymore, she has been infected with hookworm & whipworm which the vet says is from feces from other dogs. The eggs can live in the soil for several months


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 2:21 a.m.

Can't we just have road diets instead? We could remove some of the car lanes, replace the asphalt with sod, and the dog owners could walk their dogs on them. I just don't get why complete streets don't take the transportation needs of dogs into account.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 10:01 p.m.

New Hope=No Hope for dogs. For shame!!!

Vince Caruso

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 6:16 p.m.

I also live near Virginia Park, it is full of dog doo and very dangerous. When our kids played in the park they were regularly chased on to the play climber by off leash dogs. Being chased by dogs is common in the parks. Owners took dogs to the play climber and let them poop which is very unhealthy for small kids. Just last week a dog walker with leash was attacked by an off leash dog!! He received a very bad bites on the hands and his dog many bites while he was trying to rescue his dog. My wife saved them when she placed her bike between them! Very traumatic for bit owner and his dog. Our neighbor had her dog pulled out of her arms and killed by a dog a few years back. All our parks are now off leash dog parks. Just take a quick look around and take a can of dog spray for protection.

Vivienne Armentrout

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 7:46 p.m.

Yesterday, in front of my house, a man who was walking his small dog on a leash was attacked by a German Shepherd off leash. The big dog apparently did not actually cause an injury and the owners were able to take him away, but there were several scary moments. I called 911 on behalf of the person being attacked, but we had no police response.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:06 p.m.

@ Vivienne Armentrout, re our conversation: "May I just point out - if everyone wants a dog park within walking distance, won't that mean nearly every neighborhood park?" "Great idea, Vivienne! Sounds like the best solution to me, frankly." "Obviously, I was not making that suggestion. I was pointing out the logical extension of the idea." But once again, I agree with you: it is the logical extension of that idea. So why not do it?


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

Because it is simply not practical. It seems to me that a big driver of this "need" for dog parks within walking distance is convenience so that dog owners can fit exercising their dogs into their busy schedules. As a previous owner of a large black lab on the west side of AA, I never had a need or desire to use a dog park. We took neighborhood walks during the week and runs in the woods outside of town on the weekends. It is the owners responsibility to figure out how to keep their dog exercised. If you do not have the time, then you should not have a dog. I did not get another for this very reason. Sure, I miss not having a dog, but such is life.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

I have been to several dig parks and the majority of dig owners pickup after their dogs. Dogs do not want to step in poop anymore than a human does, they'll step around it, kinda funny to see. FYI-Dog poop smells less offensive than human waste. Breaksdown faster. As always it is the few inconsiderate humans who do not pickup after their dogs that give fuel to the cooments made here. If the city could put some dog parks where city parks have available space that could be a solution. Dog parks don't have to be huge, I've seen maybe 6-7 dogs at one time meaning a couple acres would do.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 3:58 p.m.

Do you really think that 2 acres would do? Is a 200 foot wide by 435 foot deep lot large enough for 6 or 7 dogs? A football field is slightly over 1 acre. at 48000 square feet. unless you count the 10 yards at each end of the field than it would be 57,600 square feet. At 43560 square foot per acre 2 acres of course would be 87,120 square foot or slightly larger than 1 and a half football fields. I do like your version of dog parks too. "DIG PARKS". That is why the owners need to be aware of the surroundings.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

About 1% of the population (114,000) answered the survey at which 70% do not use dog parks currently. That leave about 500 people in this survey that uses these parks. With only 2 parks available people and their pets must be waiting in line. I do not see those owners there on a regular schedule. I am a pet owner, walk my pets regularly, and clean up after them as well. Many pet owners say that they will volunteer for various chores that is needed for a park, I have found that this is rarely true. There will be 2 % of the 1500 people surveyed that will actually do the work after the project is finished. It will be left to the city for maintenance. The cost of building local dog parks could break the bank in these areas, where much of the tax dollars would be spent to purchase land, keep the area clean and lighted. This for about 1/2 % of Ann Arbors population. Dog owners and lovers use these dog parks to socialize with other dogs and their owners, Ideally they should take the responsibility of having a location to run and socialize without undue cost to everyone else in the city. Today, we have to take a economical stand on just about everything we do. Be realistic.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

Being part of a minority group (bike riders vs. car drivers) or of a minority opinion (tall buildings vs. short structures) allows one to prevail in AA.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

After reading many more comments on this story, I have come to the conclusion that once again the majority will wind up losing to the few that feel that this is their right. One person wrote"So if somebody has a car (or other vehicle), must they have a garage/driveway attached to their home for it?" That question deserves an answer. No, it is not necessary for you to have a driveway or a garage, but, if you park it in mine, it will be towed at the owners expense.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 1:37 p.m.

"One of the hopes is to find a more central location for dog owners in neighborhoods closer to downtown." Did that come from the survey or is that the reporter's opinion?


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

Sometimes when I read the comments on I think I live in a completely different City than most people on here. I walk over a mile to work every day and never encounter dog poop on my way; I live next to a large park and cemetery which serves as an unofficial dog park neither of which are covered in dog waste; and I do not own a dog, but I heard about the survey and I participated! I would rather there be dog parks in Ann Arbor so when I do encounter dogs and their owners the dogs are better socialized and friendly, rather than having been penned in their house or apartment constantly. Criticizing they survey for bias is a false attack. Anyone could have taken this survey and if you chose not to that was your loss!


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

The naysayers and the haters both seem to be working of the premise that this will mean MORE... Wait a minute. More what? Ann Arbor has a large dog population already. That is a fact. These dogs all get walked on a daily basis, hopefully. That will not change. What will change is that their owners will have places to run them, off-leash, separated from the general population. Don't like dogs? Then you should love dog parks! Now there will be a fence between you and your neighborhood dogs a lot more of the time –– the fact is that dog parks are as much for people who don't like dogs as for dog owners. Remember, dogs and people have been living together for 30,000 years. Trying to separate them is a very new thing. But people are getting wound tighter and tighter, and Ann Arbor is not the relaxed place it was back when I was a kid. So we dog owners are agreeing to this forced separation, and neighborhood dog parks are the answer.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 5:49 a.m.

Speak for yourself, pay for yourself, take care of your dog yourself, and keep your dog in your own yard. Do not push your values or your animals on me. That would be "dogs and SOME people have been living together for....." I'm "not wound tighter" I just expect the same courtesy that you obviously give a dog, don't crap in my backyard.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

I don't see how a dog park adds to the cultural or educational fabric of the community (like Schools do) or adds a badly needed service. It's bad enough Burns Park is loaded with dog poop and people even let their dog poop on OTHER people's lawns and don't even try to pick it up. I find at least one pile every few days when I mow the lawn or play catch... Use the funds to ACTUALLY weed whip the weeds at parks and schools instead. That way it won't look so depressing!


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:54 p.m.

They have yards, don't they? Can you say "entitlement"?

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

Dog parks end up covered in a lot of urine per square foot. Especially if the parks get a lot of dogs. It is just a whole lotta dogs peeing in a small space. It tends to create a powerful stink and permeates the area around the park. Why should other park users and residents be forced to smell that?


Mon, Sep 2, 2013 : 3:14 p.m.

I would love to visit one of these smelly dog parks with you and figure out whether I can smell anything. I really don't get what you're talking about. Maybe you are thinking of a concrete-floored dog run?


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 5:13 a.m.

Ijustworkhere, you are use to the smell. Others aren't but thank you for your concern.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

Yes I have walk next to and inside. Walking near an pota potty stinks worse than a dog park. You just have your mind made up that all dog parks stink.

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

No. They stink. Have you ever walked near the edge of a dog park?


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

Are you sure your not confusing a garbage dump with a dog park?


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:03 p.m.

When was this "survey" conducted? Who was contacted? What percentage of people in Ann Arbor own dogs? This sounds like the mandated "bicycle lane" inconveniencing of over 100,000 people who drive to accommodate the 300 bicyclists in Ann Arbor who use the main roads. I don't recall ever being asked to fill out a referendum during an election or a poll on whether I wanted bicycle lanes either. Mr. Stanton, please do some investigative journalism instead of rote repetition of the latest City Council fad.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:02 p.m.

Kind of an entitled bunch, these dog owners. A bit like cyclists who don't obey the rules of the road even though a lot of tax dollars have been spent and design decisions have been made to accommodate them. Same problem with dog owners. A dog park within walking distance of their homes? Sorry, your non-dog owning neighbors don't want a feces filled, fenced park with barking dogs running around in their neighborhood, paid for with tax dollars! Talk about a sense of entitlement! Barking dogs in yards and dog doo on public walkways are big problems for neighborhoods. Moving that problem to a park in a neighborhood does not solve the noise or mess. Why do dog owners think they can impose their dogs' problems on everyone else? If they don't pick up the dog doo now, why would they pick it up in another location? Oh, that's right. Everyone else is supposed to put up with barking dogs they don't own and the mess they create.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 11:51 a.m.

"A majority of respondents said they'd volunteer to do cleaning" Right, how long would this last? Volunteers, however well-intentioned, cannot be depended upon to do maintenance on a large park. Dog parks need to be far away from public parks and children. These parks should be separate and specifically designed for dogs and fenced off from sidewalks, buildings, etc. Noise is also an issue. Neighbors should not be subjected to hearing dogs barking in a nearby dog park. Quite honestly, this is a luxury that should not be paid for with tax payers $$. Why should non dog owners pay for this? Let dog owners pay for it themselves or raise private funds and build it away from populated areas.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 11:49 a.m.

People who own dogs want dog parks, people who don't own dogs pretty much don't. Off-leash areas/times are a really bad idea -- dogs running loose are a problem now that fenced dog parks are supposed to fix.

Bob Heinold

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 11:22 a.m.

More toys for the Yuppies! You buy a dog, you take care of it--without being subsidized. -Bob H-

Steve Hendel

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 10:54 a.m.

When oh when will the elected officials stop ' sticking their fingers in the air to see which way the wind is blowing' and make the decisions about such matters? The issue of whether or not to have dog parks (or any other public facility) and where to have them concerns ALL of the citizens of A2, and not just those who choose to respond to a survey. Of course, a dog owner who wants a dog park would prefer it to be within walking distance of their home-did they need to take a survey to discover that? The fact is, decisions about the placement of public facilities concern ALL citizens.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 10:53 a.m.

Hey a2zoo - Diversity at any cost doesn't always give the results you expected. Guess what, there are people who disagree with most anything.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:22 a.m.

Ann Arbor residents want Ann Arbor residents want Ann Arbor residents want Ann Arbor residents want...


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 12:42 a.m.

What do you want? What do you want from life?


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 3:20 a.m.

I do not want a loud dog park I do not want to hear dogs bark Parks are for people (and dogs on leashes) Not for a fence that's filled with feces I live in Ann Arbor and enjoy when it's quiet Walking my dog means we don't have to diet We do not need a dog park in "The Ann" For those who insist, I have a good plan: There's plenty of land on the outskirts of town Where dogs can run free and play with more hounds People with dogs will come from afar No need to walk there, 'cause they have a car For those in the city, you can take a nice walk You'll meet other dogs as you circle the block So give up this obsession (some call it a lark) To insist on a centrally located dog park The residents will thank you, to say the very least As we relax and enjoy our quiet and peace


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 5:07 a.m.

So silly tree, you thought it OK to let your dog run loose in a "leash controlled park"? Nice.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 2:46 p.m.

Silly, I had a 90lb black lab for 14 years on the west side of Ann Arbor and never had a need for a dog park. We would go for long walks in the neighborhood during the week and runs in the woods outside of town on weekends. It is the owners responsibility to figure out how to exercise the dog. If you can't find the time to take your dog out for exercise, then you shouldn't own a dog (I did not get another for that very reason). There is simply not enough open space within the city limits to have dog parks within walking distance for everyone. This means most people will wind up driving to them anyway, so It makes more much more sense to use the open land on the outskirts of town for this purpose.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 12:53 a.m.

How far is walking distance? I think the idea is more about cardiovascular for the dogs. We used to take our dogs to the park (nearby leash controlled park) and each of stood at one end or the other and called the dog to come to us in turn. We had to run a bit to get the dog's attention, but it kept the dog running until it was tired. People that talk about taking their dogs for long distance walks forget that dogs need to run at an elevated heartbeat to keep healthy.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 3:19 a.m.

I hope everyone noted in the survey results how often the private dog park Paw Run came up. It's a wonderful place. 18 acres all fenced in. Wooded trails following a creek, a large, lined swimming hole, with fresh water feeding into it. A hose and water dish at the end for your dogs last drink and if he needs any dirt washed off with the hose. There is a separate fenced in agility court with fun planks, tunnels and other challenges to keep your dog engaged, Prairie and field have walkways plowed so you needn't take the same route every time. A seasonal pond in the spring. And a little wooden bridge over the creek. There are covered trash cans everywhere, and all have many extra doggie bags for those who have run out. Temperament tests for your dog, plus providing clean bills of health from your vet. Up to date on shots and fecal tests. Very reasonable fees. ANd best of all....the owners pay attention to their dogs!! They don't just leave them to their own freedom of running wild. In fact, if your dog doesn't respond to you, or causes problems, the owners will ask you to do more training and to try and come back when you have your pet under more control (off leash control). They live on the property. The pet owners almost all help each other with poop, talk about ideas, training, methods that work. It's not just like dumping the teens at the mall and then picking them up later. These people are all invested in true care for their dogs and their actions prove it. I highly recommend it.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 1:08 a.m.

I agree that Paw Run sounds like a fabulous place for dogs and dog owners. Many Ann Arborites may be able to afford the 300 dollar annual fee to join them. ( Cheaper if you actually pay in advance ). I am sure that the scenery is beautiful as well. This is of course a business for profit. Most of the posts in here agree that pets and pet owners should have a place to socialize, but this should be done at the pet owners expense, not the homeowners.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 2:57 a.m.

I love dog parks. and have used both Swift Run & Olson Park multiple times per week for years. I live 2.5 miles from Swift Run. The excuse of not wanting to drive to the park when you live in town is ridiculous! Those same people will drive that far or further for coffee or to shop. That being said, it's important to point out that dog parks are not meant to be used as your dog's only source of exercise! Cesar Millan states that a dog must be walked regularly in a structured way to build & maintain leadership with your pet. He believes that dog parks should only be used as a reward for your dog and only for a short time-such as up to 20-25 minutes. That is how dog parks should be used. There have been MULTIPLE problems at these dog parks with the police being called several times a week on a weekly basis. It's better now that the Sheriff has a regular presence there. Dog parks are nothing to be taken lightly so it's good they are doing their homework. But people need to be sure that they have real leadership over their dogs before they take them to a dog park. Don't use a run at the park in place of structured exercise for your dog.


Sun, Sep 1, 2013 : 5:03 a.m.

Well said.

Terry Brennan

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 2:43 a.m.

It's rude to suggest that a dog park be placed near someone's home. Plus, anyone who's witnessed the West Park debacle might want to think twice before inviting these park planners into your neighborhood to do any kind of "improvements". They can't find their butts with both hands. Whatever is eventually executed will be half-baked and ill-conceived.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 6:09 p.m.

It is rude for people to suggest that the parks near their homes serve their interests and needs?


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 2:30 a.m.

Something like this would be nice: We can dream, can't we?


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 2:32 a.m.

If everyone that took the survey entered Beneful's contest for this year, wouldn't there be a decent chance that someone in Ann Arbor would win?


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 2:17 a.m.

Detroit has a problem with wild dogs and dog attacks from all those "responsible" pet owners who have abandoned them. That dog owners in Ann Arbor are so arrogant as to think they are any better and that property tax dollars should be used to satisfy their pet needs is just a joke. On the other hand pet owners keep a dog indoors for most of its life is cruel in and of itself. That pet owners leave their pets alone and confined while at work for 8 plus hours a day is also cruel to the species. Pet owners in Ann Arbor need a reality check. Why do you think monkeys through their own feces at the spectators? What this amounts to is that Ann Arbor pet owners don't want to be inconvenienced with the effort required to provide adequate exercise for their "confined" pets.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:37 a.m.

from what I see is dog owners here are a lot like ann arbor bikers.50 to 60 pct follow laws and rules and the rest don't..About the same amount let their dogs run unleashed or don't pick up their pooh pooh Oh those rules aren't for me,I'm to self important


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 2:10 a.m.

Yup, and unfortunately 60/40 isn't really a workable ratio. You can ignore a certain amount of careless disregard, but past that, the well is poisoned, and no one wants to go there except the people taking a dump in it.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:37 a.m.

Actually I am indifferent about dogs (and cats) if they don't leave their calling card in my yard. And if the lame brain owners understand that not everyone wants to pet or even acknowledge their dog. And if the dog walkers are courteous enough to shorten the leash when walking by people. I have no desire to have an animal lick my face that licked it's self 5 min before.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 2:33 p.m.

Get up off all four and the dog won't lick your face.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:15 a.m.

Hmmm, people want something that is clean and convenient . . . go figure.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:12 a.m.

I just moved from Ann Arbor to Nashville, and am lucky enough to live close to the very best (of several) dog parks in the city. It is landscaped, has a fresh water supply, benches, picnic tables and paths. A lot different from the big barren heath that serves as a a dog park in Ann Arbor. I've seen people without dogs there many times, simply because the city has made it a wonderful place to be. With a lot of dogs in an enclosed space, maintenance is needed from time to time. Once a month, we have volunteer days to pick up extra poop, redistribute wood chips, sweep the paths, etc. This is a lovely place that Nashvillians are proud of, and it seems like people have better things to do here than scream bloody murder about every single item in the city budget. Then again, there isn't an online newspaper in which people can make hateful comments ad libitum.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

Sorry, we only envy Boulder. Nashville? Not a chance.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 11:48 p.m.

Any expansion of dog parks must come with mandatory DNA testing of all dogs and testing of uncleaned deposits. Such techniques have worked well in other environements where owners shirked their responsibility for their pets. Of course the cost would be entirely covered by the dog owners, with steep fines for those owners who violate the law.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 11:45 p.m.

If you want a dog park within walking distance to *your* home, put one in your back yard.

Basic Bob

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 8:49 a.m.

Or move closer to one.

Dog Guy

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 11:28 p.m.

I agree with @ccsummer that Burns Park has served long and well as an off-leash dog park. There is no other central dog park, so "consuetudo pro lege servatur."


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:28 a.m.

Not so well for some folks, apparently. The police have been called to the park multiple times -- many dog owners I know were upset that they were ratted out for having off-leash dogs. I don't have a pony in this race, but I think it's an issue with some strong feelings on both sides.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 11:50 p.m.

Only in Burns Park do the dogs speak Latin. Satis verborum.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 11:02 p.m.

So are all the budget problems over, then? They've started mowing the parks and taking care of them again? I hope that's the case, before they conitnue coming up w/ new projects while they still can't take of what we have., is there any way to get the money spent putting a locking fence around the 2 soccer fields next to Fuller Pool (on the river side), tearing up the grass, sodding the entirety of the 2 fields, and chalking the lines multiple times? The only result I've seen from that is people never using the fields (because it's locked). Was that done in response to people who had paid to use the park exclusively getting into fights with people already there? I've seen soemone using those fields about 5 times since that was done several years ago. Can we also look up how many times the fields were reserved and used? I'm very curious about the ROI on that.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 1:35 a.m.

I am with you on that one. Someone sold the PAC/city on the idea that it was a money maker to fence off those fields and lease them out to teams, in the meantime, OUR fields have become unavailable to anyone, for any use. Our school used to go down there to test science Olympics rocketry, now we cannot. Others I know used to play Ultimate or football or pickup soccer down there, now we cannot. It is a bit like the other side of Fuller, where our parkland as leased as a money maker to UM for parking, it is still city-owned (OUR) land, but try to park there without a Blue Pass. Thanks, powers-that-be. More unintended consequences from unnecessary actions.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 11:01 p.m.

How would someone even know if their dog(s) have pooped somewhere in a dog park? With the dog(s) off leash romping around, sometimes yards away from their owner, more often than not the owner's not going to witness the act or find it in the grass even if they did. The whole concept of off leash dog parks are inherently prone to having excrement left all over the field even if the owner's have good intentions. I went one time with a friend to the dog park on Ellsworth and if I owned a dog I wouldn't take it there, it was pretty disgusting. What I witnessed in that one hour were dogs getting bullied by other dogs. Owners trying to call their overly friendly/somewhat aggressive dogs to them when they were too far away to control their dog(s), and their dogs were too focused on some other dog(s) they would totally ignore their human's commands. I overheard a couple people asking if anyone had seen their dogs, they'd lost site of them. This was just ONE one hour visit!


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 11 p.m.

@ Vivienne Armentrout, re: "May I just point out - if everyone wants a dog park within walking distance, won't that mean nearly every neighborhood park?" Great idea, Vivienne! Sounds like the best solution to me, frankly. My experience has been that anonymity is what some lazy people use as "permission" to not pick up after their dogs. The Slauson Dog Party was SO under the spotlight that, "Poop alert! Poop alert!" was a frequent cry, and, as writer Pete Cunningham noted, "What's better than having one dog owner making sure his dog is cleaned up after? Thirty or 40 watching like hawks, with extra plastic bags in tow, just in case." Neighborhood dog parks, where everybody knows your name –– or at least your dog's name –– are the answer. So I'm all for your suggestion to make ALL City parks dog-friendly.

Vivienne Armentrout

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 2:30 p.m.

Obviously, I was not making that suggestion. I was pointing out the logical extension of the idea.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 11:14 a.m.

hmsp Your sarcasm falls short. As does your suggestion.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 3:03 a.m.

Agree!!! I live right across from an (underground) dog park. Anywhere from 3-10 dogs. All with owners, all eyes with the dogs. Fellow walkers even offer to help find your dogs poop in dim light or when the ground is covered in brown leaves. I might see ONE stray poop a YEAR in our park. It's a great way to meet people in the neighborhood. Very little barking. Some of us even posted containers of extra doggie bags on benches or tied to fences In my neighborhood we've become friends, visit each other without the dogs! Have holiday parties! All brought together by a small neighborhood park. That is soooo clean, kids roll on the grass, have picnics, etc. And living directly across, I can reassure you that there is NO smell wafting over to my house.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:29 p.m.

How about dog lanes on our roads? We can have a lane for bicyclists, crosswalks for pedestrians, and a narrow strip of road for car drivers, but only if our city planner deems it important enough.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:53 p.m.

Don't forget doggie roundabouts!


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:23 p.m.

If every Ann Arbor resident had a dog park within walking distance from their house, pretty much every city park would be a dog park. Good luck with that, especially with the "Dogs need tons of room to run and romp" theories. Parks are no longer for people anymore, just dogs and their owners.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 6:05 p.m.

Last time I checked, most dog owners are people.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:23 p.m.

Take the dogs to the water fountain by city hall. They can do "their business" in the fountain. For the naysayers, I argue that it would be performance art, and a value added use for a six-figure waste of money.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:25 p.m.

If it meant I didn't have to see dog mess next to the sidewalk every day going to work, I'd be all for it. A central doggie-toilet would be a small price to pay for never having to look at someone's lazy, selfish leavings.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:10 p.m.

Skyjocky43 has it right. There are hugely populated cities such as San Francisco where dogs are routinely let off leash such as in Doloras Park and yet people seem to sit anywhere on the grass and no one gets bitten. I sit there when I visit. I guess the dog owners just remember to pick it up even after eating the brownies that are sold on site. It sounds as though the dog owners in AA need to band together and train each other to pick up before they can convince the rest of us that they are responsible. I live near Virginia Park and no dog poop is left on my lawn and so there are lots of people doing the right thing, but the comments here indicate some disturbing habits elsewhere.

Vince Caruso

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 6:11 p.m.

I also live near Virginia Park, it is full of dog doo and very dangerous. When our kids played in the park they were regularly chased on to the play climber by off leash dogs. Owners took dogs to the play climer and let them poop which is very unhealthy for small kids. Just last week a dog walker with leash was attacked by an off leash dog!! He received a very bad bites in the hand and his dog many bites while he was trying to rescue his dog. My wife saved them when she placed her bike between them! All our parks are now off leash dog parks. Just take a quick look around and take a dog spray for protection.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 11:11 a.m.

Most dog owner have tunnel vision! They can't see the non-dog walker coming down the sidewalk, let alone a pile of dung!


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 8:29 a.m.

There is No poo-problem. People pick-up after their dogs especially at Swift Run as they would be ostracized by the other dog owners if they did not. This poo-not-being-picked-up is just a red herring put forth by this topics haters.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:10 a.m.

I am wondering if the dog poop is more of a problem in some parts of town than others? I don't see any dog poop lying around when I walk my dogs in my neighborhood.

Eduard Copely

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:07 p.m.

I find the resistance to dog parks within existing parks a bit odd and ridiculous. Most of the parks mentioned in the article including: Allmendinger, Buhr, Burns, Hunt, Miller, Virginia, and Wurster, have more than enough room for fenced off dog parks and it would be good to see some of these parks actually being put to use! - Cat person

Eduard Copely

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 2:14 a.m.



Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:24 a.m.

I disagree that there is room in all of these parks - every bit of at least some of the parks on that list Burns, Allmendinger, Virginia, Hunt) are used during sports seasons or when the weather is nice.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 11:37 p.m.

Did you read the comments regarding the volume of excrement encountered all over the city and in the existing dog parks? In that light, how is the resistance odd?

Vivienne Armentrout

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 9:56 p.m.

The headline is crisp and authoritative. And misleading. This is not a survey that was conducted of Ann Arbor residents. This was a minimally advertised poll that invited self-selected respondents to register an opinion. There has been an unfortunate proliferation of these (often SurveyMonkey) polls. They are not conducted "scientifically", with an effort to ascertain what an accurate sample is. Rather, the URL is posted a few places and emailed or tweeted to friends. I was heartened by PAC Chair Julie Grand's comment, as reported by the Chronicle, that "this is not a vote". I hope that the PAC subcommittee uses some of the preferences expressed to guide their work, but does not take this as a true reflection of what Ann Arbor residents across the city want for their parks. May I just point out - if everyone wants a dog park within walking distance, won't that mean nearly every neighborhood park?


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

Ryan, In addition to the issues pointed out by Vivienne, the problem I had with the survey it that is was slanted towards the assumption that there will be dog parks within the city. Given that assumption, of course the results will be skewed towards what you reported. For example, I can think of one obvious question missing from the survey: "Do you agree that there should be a centrally located dog park within the city limits of AA?". Without asking this question, the survey results are suspect at best.

Vivienne Armentrout

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 7:43 p.m.

Ryan, your answer is too defensive. Of course I am not claiming that the survey was hijacked. I am saying that this survey was not designed and implemented to answer the question, "Do Ann Arbor residents want more dog parks, and in neighborhood parks?" The survey was not well advertised and most likely the majority of respondents were those who were following the dog park issue closely. Your comment about "a lot of statements that support the headline" points out another weakness. When you have a series of open-ended comments, a great deal of analysis and thought are needed to summarize them accurately. If I read the comments, I could probably find quite a few that would support a different view. We've run into this problem before with online surveys. I'm concerned about their use in constructing city policy. They should not be treated as a referendum.

Ryan J. Stanton

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 2:38 a.m.

I don't think anybody is claiming the city's online surveys are scientific, but if you read through the written answers, you'll see a lot of statements that support the headline. I suppose if you're one for conspiracies, you could be a skeptic and try to argue hundreds of people, possibly from other cities, anonymously hijacked an Ann Arbor survey, claimed to live in various parts of Ann Arbor, and for some reason lobbied for neighborhood dog parks in those areas. Seems unlikely to me.

Michael Rodemer

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 4:04 a.m.

As far as I have been able to see, EVERY park is already a dog park. Often when I've reminded dog owners of the leash law, I got an obscene reply. Not ALL dog owners are jerks...


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 9:45 p.m.

I grew up in Ann Arbor and moved just west of the city 10 years ago. I Lived in Ann Arbor from the early 60's to the early 2000's. The comments here are a reminder to me of why I moved away from the city. It is not the city I once knew. These are not the wonderfully neighborly Ann Arborites that I knew growing up. I continue to come into the city, to shop, dine, meet friends, go to concerts, plays, shows, etc. I no longer miss living there. I frequently head home wondering what happened to the once open-minded, friendly town I once loved???


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 3:16 a.m.

How many dog parks were in Ann Arbor from the early 60's to the early 2000's ?


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 2:53 a.m.

yes, a2zoo. I'm saddened and appalled at the mean spirited comments. Sigh. It's a wonder we have any n ice things in A2 at all. If these folks had a choice, we'd probably never have a Power Center or a Veterans Park, The Arb, etc. At least the University has given us to outdoor sculptures, the Wave Field, Art Museums, Bell Towers, etc. I can see if any of these were proposed today....they'd be voted down. Do you know the wonderful Millennium Park in Chicago, with silver metal reflective "bean" was hotly hated by the local population? I bet their comments would have been very similar to these. Oh, and by the way, Chicago has lovely dog parks. SOme big, some small, and a large long one that utilizes Chicago's precious, beautiful and priceless downtown waterfront.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:23 p.m.

I would say it is more observation than opinion. But that's just my opinion.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:04 p.m.

"That's just like, your opinion, man." - Lebowski


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 9:38 p.m.

I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've encountered the phrase "dog amenities".


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

AKA: "pet projects" You're welcome.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:54 a.m.

Actually they all carry their own "amenities" ...


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 9:36 p.m.

Please do not fence in small areas and call them dog parks. dogs need room to run and romp - the west park proposal was ridiculously small - you need a bit more space to be effective - i suggest looking at the size of dog parks in Los Angeles which I believe had some of the first dog parks starting in the 1990s - they are big enough for dogs to run and have a separate area for small dogs


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 9:08 p.m.

Bummer that there are not enough dog parks close enough to dog owners' homes. What happened to walking one's dog and cleaning up in the process? I would like there to be more (like, ONE!) lacrosse fields in Ann Arbor. But there are none. I'm sure someone would like a bocce court too. This dog park thing gets a little like paying organized crime for "protection." We apparently need more dog parks, so that dog owners will figure out that places like Bird Hills are NOT dog parks where their animals can run free and attack runners. So I guess that if providing more dog parks will buy me the protection from the current rampant illegality of dog owners, sure, let's do it. But along with providing those new parks should be that dog owners use them, and stop treating the world at large as a dog park.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:57 p.m.

The sunshine soldiers among Ann Arbor's social engineers constantly encourage diversity, yet where are they now when this vital issue comes to the fore? It's all dogs, dogs, dogs. Nary a mention of parks for other animal companions. What about a ferret trampoline village? Is it too much to ask for a simple set of monkey-sized monkey bars?

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 9:11 p.m.

Is it too late to cancel the $1.2M skate park and build the ferret trampoline village?


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 9:02 p.m.

If you ever decide to start up a Ann Arbor ferret trampoline village, please put me down for one t-shirt and bumper sticker please.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:53 p.m.

I agree that irresponsible dog owners who don't clean up after their pets is the major stumbling block to this issue. What I don't understand is, why are there so many of these people in Ann Arbor? Having lived in Seattle, I can say that there are dog parks all over the place, and I can count on one hand the number of instances of people not cleaning up after their dogs. Are Ann Arborites just inherently lazy and inconsiderate?

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 6:03 p.m.

No kidding. People in AA do seem inherently lazy and inconsiderate. For example, there are drivers in this town who would actually expect a pedestrian to walk and entire block out of their way so they can avoid stopping their car for 30 seconds. There are also people who feel that even though a significant number of people would probably use dog parks, they still feel that they should not be allowed just because they don't particularly like dogs.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 3:16 a.m.

New here, huh? Not inherently lazy or inconsiderate, both these traits were cultivated for many years. Add in entitled and you pretty much got it.

Barb's Mom

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 11:03 p.m.

@ Skyjockey43--Have you seen the number of people in Ann Arbor who won't walk 10 feet to use the crosswalk ? Or the number of people who say that it is to far to walk 1 block to the street light to be able to cross safely? We own 3 dogs. They are walked 2 -3 times a day always on leashes and we clean up after them. We took them to Swift Run dog park one time. The other people that were there were not paying attention to their dogs and 3 different dogs tried to mount my female dog. We immediately left and NEVER went back.

G. Orwell

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:53 p.m.

"Ann Arbor residents want dog parks within walking distance from their homes, survey finds." And no fees. We, the people of AA have already paid for the parks. Why do we have to pay to use the dog parks? It should be free to all.

G. Orwell

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:13 a.m.

Dog owners pick up the poop. Is there a poop squad I don't know about? You mean I've been picking up the poop all these years when I didn't have to?


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:01 p.m.

It's about the poop.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:51 p.m.

And I want a magical circus pony. Who is going to give me that? Really, I love my dogs and do all I can to care for them. But what I really want the city to provide is fire and police protection. I can't do that on my own.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 11:51 p.m.

@Lisa: "love my dogs and do all I can to care for them. But what I really want the city to provide is fire and police protection." Maybe next time you'll get a fire dog and a guard dog?


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:13 p.m.

Would you prefer: a) a pony b) a sharp stick in the eye Headline: "Ann Arbor residents want ponies, survey finds"

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 9:09 p.m.

Design a survey that supports your intended pony outcome, and by gosh you might get that pony.

CJ Trent

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:45 p.m.

I think these special areas for dogs should be called "front yards" and "backyards". There are so many other needs that should be addressed before more canine parks are a priority. I love my dog, but I don't expect the general public to provide for her.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:41 p.m.

Say no to dog parks! I don't want to pay for someone's dog to poop and bark next to my house. Keep your own dogs on your own property!

Eduard Copely

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:08 p.m.

That's about as realistic as telling Squirrels to stop climbing trees.

Jim Kenyon

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:36 p.m.

As "davecj" notes, the statistics cited in this article are specious, at best. There are just under 1,200 licensed dogs in Ann Arbor with a population of 116,121 (see The sample bias in this survey is one issue. The survey construction, itself, is another. Attempting to draw conclusions from this vehicle is right out. Please, take the time to understand what numbers mean before quoting them or, worse yet, drawing conclusions from them.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 11:48 a.m.

1200 licensed says a lot about the level of responsibility of the dog owning population and what to expect in a new facility.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:03 a.m.

I am sure a lot of people don't get their dogs licensed. I didn't know I had to license my dog until I saw something in the paper that made reference to "dog licenses." I suspect that there are about 2-3 times as many dogs as those that are licensed.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:35 p.m.

More places for unleashed dogs to charge at humans from, sounds great.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:01 a.m.

i would hope that if there were more authorized dog parks then people would be less likely to turn public places into dog parks. I have dogs, and a yard, and it really bothers me when I see people with unleashed dogs letting them run in a park or school yard or around the block. I think it shows a lack of respect for others.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:20 p.m.

If people are too lazy to go to the dog park then maybe they shouldn't be dog owners--- or at least a " working dog" owner. Do your research before getting a dog-- if you don't like walking of going to the dog park them adopt a breed that is content with little exercise or perhaps buy a gold fish.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:17 p.m.

The city parks already have a serious problem with dog poop and with off leash dogs. I regularly see nesting birds at Lillie park terrorized by off-leash dogs. Dog parks in other cities often have a tremendous odor of urine and feces, so I cannot see this working well in existing parks.

Seasoned Cit

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:13 p.m.

How about also getting AATA to offer free rides to humans with a dog? Then folks with their dog could take the bus and not have to worry about a dog park not being close enough. For entertainment and to help the dogs exercise, we could also ask those with "city" chickens to bring one or two at a time to the dog parks. It would help the chickens from getting too fat and probably reduce the amount of cholesterol that they deposit in their eggs.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 3:43 p.m.

How about we move all the regular parks to the edge of the city next to dumps, and everyone can drive their ADD children that need dvd players for a 5 minute ride to play next to the trash?


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 2:46 p.m.

Thanks for the suggestion. Now those people wanting to conserve on their expenses will insist that their dog is a specialist dog, for therapy. They will need to take their dog(s) to work with them, the transportation will be free to all but the tax payers. The employer will have to provide proper food and veterinarian care for the now working dog, releasing the owner from any financial responsibility. Placing the cost solely onto the not so forgotten tax payer.

Basic Bob

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 8:37 a.m.

I've always enjoyed goats on the bus. That should be encouraged as well.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:03 p.m.

I want an automatic fountain so my dog can get a drink whenever she wants, and some mechanical cats for her to chase, and we should hire someone to clean up all of the poop too...............this would be a great way to spend some of the limited resources available.


Wed, Sep 4, 2013 : 1:31 a.m.

Two Mikes are better than one I always say..............especially when they agree with me


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 3:40 p.m.

It's a dog park not a theme park, and you clearly have never been to one.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

Mike, you are giving me a bad name in here. But than again, I do agree with you on many things.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:07 p.m.

Surely your dog needs a pony, right?

Urban Sombrero

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:49 p.m.

I have no problem with more dog parks IF dog owners clean up after their dogs. I walk a lot and all too often, whether on the side of the sidewalk, or in a park or on a nature trail, I come across dog poop. I understand the need to exercise your dogs. And, I LIKE dogs. But, people, for the love of all that's holy, clean up after your animals! It's your responsibility, as a pet owner. The rest of us should not have to do it for you (or, even worse, step in it...)

Urban Sombrero

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:50 p.m.

BTW, I have a dog. She's all of 4 lbs. I don't take her to dog parks because, well....she'd be nothing more than a 2-bite snack to many of the dogs I see there. It's safer for her if I keep her in my yard.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:38 p.m.

So dog owners are getting tired of picking up after their pets, huh?


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:37 p.m.

As long as the dog owners are willing to pay an extra tax, I'm ok with it. As a non-dog owner, I don't need a dog park.

Basic Bob

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 8:36 a.m.

Doubtful many people will consider the value of dog parks in determining property values. Bad schools on the other hand could turn us into Pontiac, even if 85% don't use them at all.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 11:08 p.m.

As a conservative I'm happy to pay for schools. However, I wou,d rather not pay for a dog park.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:08 p.m.

As a non-parent think you should pay an extra tax for your child to have a park and school, As a non-senior citizen I think you should pay an extra tax for the discount the city provides senior citizens for riding buses and shared cab rides. As a non-driver, I think you should pay more for the roads you drive on. As a non-user of fire protection I think you should pay extra for using the service, The fact is the number of households with dogs is around 46% nationally, the number of households with children under 18 was 45%. The population of Ann Arbor that is under 18 is 14.4%, nationally it is 23.5%. I would bet the number of households with dogs is similar to national numbers, if not higher. So how about we spend the money where it helps MORE people, not just the 14.4% I wont even get into the golf courses or swimming pools which a HUGE part of the population NEVER use.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:01 p.m.

As a non-parent I don't need schools either. But I participated in Ann Arbor public schools and I'm more than willing to help pay for it, even though I don't have children...because I'm not a greedy me, me, me conservative


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:55 p.m.

As a non-parent, I don't need schools.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:28 p.m.

Wow. 13.6 % said they don't want a dog park anywhere in the City?! Once again, I'd like to make the point that I've been paying property taxes here for almost 40 years, and like many people, I don't mind that the taxes pay for Public Schools that I don't use, a bus system that I don't use, and 157 public parks of which only TWO are dog parks. For people who think dog parks are noisy, you've never lived next to a ball field! People are a lot noisier than dogs. I don't understand why there would be new taxes. The spaces already exist. In addition to dog licenses, dog park users pay an additional fee for park tags.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:47 a.m.

BHarding, what some folks don't understand is that dogs are from outer space and control our minds. If you're against dog parks, it's because some dog is willing you to think that way. Why? I do not know. Dogs are mysterious critters. Thank the stars they are so dang cute and huggable, or they might get to be a nuisance.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:26 p.m.

Not necessarily. They can take the money for the fence out the money used to other things, perhaps less popular things like tennis courts?


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:06 p.m.

There would be tax increases because even though the land might exist it still has to be improved for you and your dog................make sense?


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:27 p.m.

In advance to those people who will say "get a yard" --- a dog park is not for experiencing grass or lying on grass. It is a central place for dogs to congregate and play, run, wrestle, or just get accustomed to having other dogs around. In advance to those people who will say "poopy" --- dog owners hate stepping in poop as much as YOU do, and they learn to pick up, usually because other dog owners tell them to. In advance to those people who will say "noisy" --- when dogs play and run, they don't bark. Usually. You'd be surprised. In advance to those people who will say "dangerous" --- one word. FENCE.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 5:34 a.m.

I've seen people at the dog park off Ellsworth walk around and pick up poop. Not just their dog's. But any. But I agree that many owners don't because they aren't watching their dog. If we'd all just do this, just a few minutes, it would be a lot cleaner. That's why I have shoes just for the dog park and they don't come inside.

Basic Bob

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:54 a.m.

I say poopy.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:30 p.m.

Get real!


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:31 p.m.

I'll admit that there are dog parks that are poopy. Usually they are the huge ones (West, Slauson), and non-neighborhood ones. Yes, poop happens. But in my neighborhood park the dog poop usually comes from nighttime walkers who either don't see it happening or those few who think they can get away with leaving it because nobody will see them. Around other owners, among civilized citizens, the poop gets picked up.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:25 p.m.

Put it on the ballot in November and you'll see what the real numbers are. 1% of the Ann Arbor population answered the survey. 67% of them were dog owners, and guess what, 68% of respondents want dog parks. A coincidence? See any problems with these statistics. My guess is people say they support dog parks, just not in 'their' park. Who wants barking dogs, and poop. Even in a fenced-in area with 'volunteers' doing the cleaning.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:47 p.m.

Yes, I don't think did a good job investigating the stats on this story... The majority of residents do not want dog parks!

Jim Kenyon

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:41 p.m.

You hit the nail head with the statistics [sic] issue. Survey construction, sample planning, fielding, and analysis are not shoot-from-the-hip activities.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:24 p.m.

Why don't they charge a membership fee for maintenance on a doggy park. The problem with Slauson was everyone said they would clean it and very few did. The number of people who walk their dog through Eberwhite woods and Fritz park and don't clean their dog messes is astonishing. A small section off any of the city parks that where members only dogs could play and the park was cleaned with the fees generated would be nice.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 3:12 p.m.

"Why should they charge admission to a dog park when they don't charge admission to say the basketball courts or the playgrounds for children." Trying to accommodate less than 1% of the population with tax dollars for a single purpose park is ridiculous. Community parks serve multi-purposes, hoops, tennis, ball fields, play grounds. None of these activities include feces by the players. I agree that in community parks that are large enough to have fenced in areas for pets, away from normal family activities, should have them. Due to the added maintenance of these facilities it should be the responsibility of the pet owner to cover the day to day costs. Dog parks must use insecticides, feces picked up, regularly to protect the pets that frequent them. Fences in these parks must be inspected, and repaired frequently to insure pet, owner, and bystander safety.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:24 p.m.

Why should they charge admission to a dog park when they don't charge admission to say the basketball courts or the playgrounds for children. I mean, if there is a reason why dog parks are much more expensive than other parks like the pools are, I can see it but I don't believe that is the case. Most dog parks are a field with a fence around it.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:37 p.m.

Uhm, they do charge an annual user fee per dog.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:22 p.m.

Put on a ballot for a dog park within walking distance of every home in Ann Arbor. Include with shaded areas and water fountains. Skip parking, lighting, benches, restrooms and dog amenities The issue will be resolved.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:19 p.m.

This could turn into a huge reallocation for tax resources if the dogs start riding bicycles!


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:17 p.m.

My dog and I went to the dog park on ellsworth once. It was absolutly disgusting because the majority of the people stood and talked and didn't pick up their dog's feces. I am a big time dog lover, my sweet Baboo is my best buddy, but I don't want one cent of my money going toward's another poop mine field that is unusable to anybody who doesn't want their dog tracking around crap for the next day. And, since it would be absurd to station a cop at the park, people are lazy slobs in general and it would be just a matter of time. Maybe one in a nicer neighborhood, like Burn's Park, would be better since the residents tend to have more self-respect and respect for their community.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 1:10 p.m.

That is truly offensive to people that live in that area.

Basic Bob

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 12:53 a.m.

Clearly one delusional Burns Park resident here. Go down this path and all our parks will be poop mine fields full of dog droppings.

Scott Kett

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 11 p.m.

Yes, Burns Park residents are superior...another arrogant comment


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:09 p.m.

People love dogs, but don't want anything to do with 80% of the responsibilities they come with. They're naturally gross animals (poop, rotting garbage/dead animals/anything that smells is rollin' 'round heaven), and only get worse when people don't understand what having a dog entails. If you want to live with something that smells like a sweaty pile of month-old gym socks half the time, get a dog. Like drool and butt-breath? Dogs are where it's at. They're like furry 2-year-olds their whole life. That said, a dog that is well-cared for is a fun companion. Unfortunately, too many people are terrible at caring for them.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:59 p.m.

I lived in the Burns Park neighborhood for many years and I can say that people already use the park as an off-leash dog park. And they're not all that great about picking up after their dogs either. I happened to see a man walking his dog one morning as I was out on a run who let his dog poop right on the playground section of the park without cleaning it up. I told him that kids play there--he just shrugged his shoulders and walked off. Now I live in Pittsfield Village where we have 60 acres, most of it beautiful parkland. My neighbors treat the park-like open spaces like off-leash dog parks and don't clean up after their dogs either. I've given up trying to walk my dogs anywhere but the sidewalk because every time I do, the dogs and I end up with poop on our shoes/paws. And then there's the grassy section attached to the playground at Pittsfield Elementary. Every time I've tried to walk my dogs through there, I've come across people using that little park as an off-leash dog park. People let their dogs off-leash at County Farm Park. Bluebird Nature Area and Sheffield Park and don't clean up after them. I don't know what the answer is but I don't think it's more specified dog parks. People seem to use every area they're in with their dogs as dog parks. I love dogs. I have 3 rescues of my own and can't imagine life without them. I'm not angry with the off-leash dogs--the problem is with their humans.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:16 p.m.

If these people have dogs/pets, they should have a yard to use for this. AND, walking the dog??? If these pass, everyone can complain about new taxes to pay for them.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

@ Woman in Ypsilanti "Brad, equating children and dogs is logical in the sense that the owners of dogs have similar concerns about their dog's welfare as many parents have for the welfare of their children. However, it is important to remember that dog parks aren't really for the dogs, they are for the dog owners." I have children and dogs, you are right, I have concerns about the welfare of both. When my children were small, I took them for walks, to the parks, and even out to eat. I did the same for my dogs. I watched as they played, many time together. As my children dropped items on the ground, I picked them up and instructed them to do the same. As my pets messed on the ground, I picked it up. Safety means a lot to a parent, both children and pets. I do not mind paying for that safety. One thing bothered me though. If dog parks are for dog owners, why are the dogs there?


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

Pizzicato "So if somebody has a car (or other vehicle), must they have a garage/driveway attached to their home for it?" No, you are not required to have a driveway, or a garage to posses a car( or other vehicle). if you permit that car (or other vehicle) to be parked in my driveway or garage ( on my property) it will be towed at the owners expense.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 3:04 a.m.

Brad, Yes, I think equating children and dogs is logical. Obviously you havn't met my kids. (glad my wife doesn't know my screen name!)


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 11:42 p.m.

"Cuz my dog is just like people!" Yeah, go with that.......

Woman in Ypsilanti

Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:22 p.m.

Brad, equating children and dogs is logical in the sense that the owners of dogs have similar concerns about their dog's welfare as many parents have for the welfare of their children. However, it is important to remember that dog parks aren't really for the dogs, they are for the dog owners.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:06 p.m.

But equating children and dogs is logical?


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:45 p.m.

Most people dont have the space in their backyard to get a good workout for their dog. Walking your dog is important but being able to play in a fenced in area, unleashed, with other dogs is essential for socialization and exercise. It is no different than the playgrounds that are built for families and their children... Maybe children should just play in their backyards too and we can demolish all the playgrounds to save some tax money? No, because that sort of thinking is illogical.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:50 p.m.

I don't have a yard, but we walk and/or run with our dog 4 times each day. Let's say you have to have a yard in order to have a dog. If that were the case, there would be more dogs than we know what to do with in shelters. Many would be euthanized, but I get the sense from your comment that that would not bother you too much. I'd just like a dog park closer to home so my dog could socialize in a somewhat controlled setting with other dogs.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:25 p.m.

So if somebody has a car (or other vehicle), must they have a garage/driveway attached to their home for it?


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:12 p.m.

Perhaps they need to look to the skate park people for a good example of how they can put their own money and activism to use...


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

I only meant to point out that at least the skate park people put their own time and effort, not to mention at least some of their own money and fundraising to get what they wanted. Versus waiting for someone to give them something and offering...? Beside complaints and excuses...


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 10:30 p.m.

Why not offer up a DIY network of rotating spacious backyards to act as makeshift dog parks? "Because I don't want other people's dogs pooping on my lawn..." Ah, that's for the parks then. Got it.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 9:53 p.m.

late and over budget. It is the perfect government project.


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 8:42 p.m.

Yeah, that only took what ... 15 years? 20?


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 7:07 p.m.

i think that if the dog park areas is fenced off then people's concerns about safety in the park, poop, etc should not be an issue. I have a feeling a lot of people don't know what a "dog park" is.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 12:51 p.m.

The potential scorn of the mob (usually) keeps the poo picked up. Lots of dog parks in NYC and Wash DC and they are neither loud nor smelly. It's a great way to bring neighbors together who otherwise would likely not interact.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

Dog parks are a wonderful place for dogs to run free from a leash. Good exercise for the dogs and some owners. The issue with the safety is not generally with people. Dog feces is left behind for other dog owners to clean up before permitting their dogs to roam. Feces is one way that dogs and other animals make contact with disease. Educate the owners to clean up after their pets before placing other's pets in jeopardy. Pet owners that don't regularly exercise their pets and blame it on the proximity of these parks would rarely use one if it were just on the next block.