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Posted on Wed, May 2, 2012 : 2:58 p.m.

Top 5: Lessons learned from the dog days at Slauson Middle School

By Pete Cunningham


Ann Arbor police have warned dog owners to end the weekly gathering at Slauson MIddle School playground, which has been used an unofficial dog park on Saturdays.

Chris Asadian |

Two weeks ago, I visited Slauson Middle School on a pleasant Saturday to find out the story behind a mass gathering of dogs I’ve observed since moving to the area. I always found it peculiar - dare I even say, funny - that every Saturday a huge group of unleashed dogs would gather in an area surrounded with “No Pets Allowed” signs.

Next to the “No Pets Allowed” signs are signs explaining the laws dog owners must follow while walking their pets on the premises, an interesting dichotomy in its own right.

The popularity, regularity and visibility of the weekly event led me to believe this was a highly organized, legal activity.

It was neither, and now it is no more.

After receiving a complaint from Slauson principal Christopher Curtis, city police communicated to dog owners this Saturday that the jig is up. The unleashed dog hour can no longer continue: Police will enforce the city ordinance against unleashed dogs in public areas, and could even issue trespassing violations, if dog owners don't heed to the warning.

Many scathing emails and comments have been sent my way in the two weeks since the original story, and it would be a shame to waste them. So let’s go through the five best lessons that can be learned from this whole ordeal as best explained by those emails and additional comments:

LESSON 1: Rules is rules.

"Without the spotlight that you shone upon (the dog party), we would have had a nice Dog Party today, next week, and the week after as well…As I said, I would hesitate to ask a journalist not to do his/her job. But please ask yourself, was writing and publishing that throwaway joke piece really worth the price that we dog owners are now having to pay?"
- Disgruntled reader

Thanks for hesitating.

The fact of the matter is, unleashed dogs are not allowed at Slauson, or any other piece of public property in the city besides the designated dog parks. For one hour every Saturday, Slauson has long been the proverbial forest with no one around to hear the trees falling.

But now, the city and school officials are fully attuned to the situation.

It was a no harm, no foul situation and every dog owner I’ve spoken to seemed to understand that. What prompted the complaints from people at the school is irrelevant. Someone complained and the police acted on the complaint.

No one is claiming the complaint is false, so if dog owners want something to change they should focus efforts on making the activity legal.

Which leads to our next lesson…

LESSON 2: There is a need for off-leash hours in central Ann Arbor.

“There's government corruption, crime and this is what you spend your time doing? Aren’t there more important stories that would be a better use of your time?”
- Disgruntled dog owner

This comment wasn't emailed, but was asked of me at Slauson on that fateful Saturday. As a wise man once said, “the world needs ditch diggers, too.”

And the world of journalism needs dog stories, too.

Yes, there are more important issues than dogs running off their leashes, but there is a clear need in central Ann Arbor for some unleashed hours in parks, as evidenced by popularity of this weekly event at Slauson, which draws around 50 owners every week. The city’s two dog parks are on the far north and south ends of town and the rest of the city’s 157 parks have no designated hours for unleashed pets, which seems an underutilization of an embarrassment of riches.

According to Tanya Hilgendorf, executive director of the Humane Society of Huron Valley, dogs really need this off-leash time.

“Exercise, just like for humans, is critical to physical, emotional and behavioral health (for dogs). For some high energy breeds, it is nearly impossible for owners to give the dog enough energy while walking on a leash,” she said.

According to parks commissioner John Lawter, a frequenter of Slauson’s unleashed hour, there is currently a subcommittee exploring getting unleashed hours in central Ann Arbor’s parks.

Time will tell if that comes to fruition.

LESSON 3: Someone’s not cleaning up.

“We even have “responsible” dog owners who bring their dogs on the fields during the school day who have to be reminded by one of our teams’ favorite in unison cheers - “ HEY, PICK UP YOUR POOP!"Those citizens who proclaim the activities are “victimless” should spend a day as a PE teacher helping kids clean up or as a classroom teacher trying to teach in a classroom whose floor and smell has been blessed by what got carried in on some student’s shoes or more importantly, a child that has to put up with the physical and social consequences."
- Disgruntled Slauson teacher, Rusty Fuller

This paragraph from Fuller’s guest column last week states that his students regularly find dog feces on the fields at Slauson and believes that the Saturday dog party is to blame.

While I can’t imagine stepping in a pile of dog droppings causing dire “social consequences” there’s no reason to believe Fuller’s claims aren’t true.

Lawter, in a response to the column, claimed the dog party actually reduces waste in the schoolyard because the owners clean up their own as well as others’ messes in an attempt to keep everyone happy.

Who is actually responsible for the poop being left in the field? Are the offenses occurring during the hour a week unleashed dogs roam free or in the 167 hours in which they don’t?

I don’t know. Feces are not subject to FOIA. But the fact of the matter is, when “it” happens, unlike Forrest Gump, people are going to take steps to avoid it.

Keeping the largest and most visible group that could possibly be responsible is the most logical step, even if it ends up being the wrong one.

LESSON 4: Some people take everything more seriously than I’ve ever taken anything.

“As you probably gathered by my tone, I'm annoyed with you for running a piece with no substance and only to stir up the some politician that gets the Police to step up patrols (like they don't have something better to do). The real reason (I’m upset the ordinance might be enforced) is (I) own (*dogs' breed concealed to protect their identity*) and train them (unleashed at Slauson) for AKC hunting competitions, some are nationally ranked.”
- Disgruntled reader

If you’ve read through the comments on any of the dog stories, you know that a lot of people take their dogs very seriously and feel very strongly about this issue. If you haven’t read through every one, I wouldn’t recommend it. A little piece of me died sorting through them all.

In an ideal world, conflicts are resolved civilly between the people involved.

When I was at Slauson two weeks ago, an unleashed dog stole the sandal of Jerry Fulton, who was at the park playing beach volleyball. Rather than getting upset at the owner of the dog or involving the authorities, Fulton retrieved his sandal without incident and laughed it off. The dog owners took extra precautions to ensure their pets stayed out of the volleyball pits so as to not further disturb other people utilizing the schoolyard.

“It’s a dog, It’s all good,” Fulton said after retrieving his sandal. “I think it’s funny.”

This is how we wish every conflict could be resolved, with both parties working together to come to a peaceful solution.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the world we live in so laws are written and people are put in a position to enforce them. Those are the breaks.

LESSON 5: Hatfields vs. McCoys has nothing on Leashed vs. Unleashed.

"I have so many “off leash” dog stories that ended in or almost ended in disaster I can’t even begin to tell. I have considered a book on the subject."
- Disgruntled reader

Forgive me, but I think I’ll wait for the movie on that one.

Contact Pete Cunningham at or by phone at 734-623-2561. Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.



Sat, May 5, 2012 : 1:23 a.m.

Poop that is not picked up can lead to infections such as parvo in other dogs, why should you let your laziness be the cause of a loving pets death?


Fri, May 4, 2012 : 12:31 a.m.

Wow! The fact A2 news is willing to give you this opportunity is telling. I don't have a dog, don't like pets, and don't care but the idea that this is news is a joke. How come you don't run an article on the homeless found dead in A2 every winter? Why don't you propose a gift fund from 'dogs without leashes' for the cold homeless in winter or the psychiatric services they may desperately need? If this city is going to continue to model itself as the spitting 'wannabe' of Berkeley it is probably time to start accurately criticizing the use of resources and pressuring politicians than it is to offer Pete Cunningham the opportunity to encourage the further waste of resources. The tag matches the quality- 'dog poop'.


Fri, May 4, 2012 : 10:12 p.m.

neighbor Why don't YOU enlighten us as to the homeless found dead each year?You appear to be an expert!

Unusual Suspect

Fri, May 4, 2012 : 4:48 p.m.

Wait, I thought we wanted to be Boulder, CO. Could somebody please post the Model-city-of-the-year somewhere so I can keep up to date?


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 6:01 p.m.

I live in an apartment, I don't have access to a fenced area, I work so I'm not able to be with a dog companion for long intervals. Therefore: I do not have a dog because, though I'd love to have one, IT WOULD BE WORSE for both the dog and myself if I did. Buying or accepting a dog involves buying more than just the dog: you must buy the life circumstances proper to owning / having a dog companion. If I can find a way to afford all of the things necessary to responsibly own a dog: then I'll get a dog!! Great motivator!


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 2:58 p.m.

I am intrigued by the AKC Hunting competition trainer that feels compelled to have a highly energetic Sporting class dog in an urban environment. Move to a locale that is not public to train your dog...a larger piece of personal property! Large sight and prey hounds allowed to be off leash are the reason I don't walk my small dog..on a leash in any of the parks.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

Just a thought.... What if a pit was off leash?.. running freeeeee!!!.. and went into the school yard ahead of it's master?. " BUt he/she is friendly".. uhhuh PUT YOUR DOG"S ON LEASHES. I have to say, I am getting a kick out of this, reading responses.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 11:50 p.m.

Also a2crisp, your gun analogy is pretty weak. When's the last time a gun leaped from a moving car to maim or kill a dog being walked on a leash? How many guns do you know of that have broken free from heavy steel chains and attacked kids and others out for an evening stroll? Then there are those vicious guns that charge up to you in the park and knock you down.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 10:08 p.m.

a2crisp.. Yes i know about the breed. my mind went more for the general ideas about pits. and rotties( which I have had) and the preconcieved ideas and immediate scared response people have of these breeds. People would be really up in arms arguing about this item then.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 4:36 p.m.

You may be right that the majority of pits are/were human-friendly. However, they are often bred to emphasize aggressive behavior, so this is changing over time. Also, let me know when a Dachshund kills someone. The reason pits get so much attention these days is that when a pit becomes aggressive, it will do a lot of damage. When a strange dog of any breed approaches someone, the situation is likely dangerous. Many people who don't own dogs don't know how to react, so the dog may feel threatened and behave in a very different way than it normally behaves. It is never safe or proper to operate any dog in public without a leash.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 4:23 p.m.

I almost got through the endless marathon of dog haters and haters without making a comment (a bold feat considering). You may be right about leashes, but you are wrong about pits. Breeds do have tendencies bred into them intentionally or unintentionally, but on the whole pits are very human friendly. In fact, according to some dog experts, the dog breed most prone to violence is actually the dachshund. Remember, guns don't kill people, stupid people with guns kill people, like the person with the thoughtless comment about putting two in a dog or the guy with the cane. And speaking of those two, I think it points to why people of a similar mind to me like dogs more than people. Dogs CAN be jerks, humans ARE jerks.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

Lesson #6: 99.7% of dog problems are actually owner problems


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 10:57 a.m.

Rule Number One: Don't talk about fight club. Apparently, the dog folks forgot this one.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 10:56 a.m.

Nice summary. Talk about first-world problems!


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 10:36 a.m.

Can we beat this dead horse a little more please?


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 8:03 a.m.

Wow. I have officially placed you on an indefinite ban I will miss mocking your pathetic standards for writing, editing, and investigative reporting, but reading this schlock has become too terrible of a price to pay


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 4:55 a.m.

Unfortunately, some bad apples DO spoil it for the rest of the barrel. No dogs should be off leash (unless at the designated dog parks). I love dogs. Most dog owners are likely responsible owners. BUT some are not. So, we have to have rules. I have a running pal who was bitten by a dog and now runs with dog treats in his pocket.

Terrin Bell

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 3:29 a.m.

I stopped reading for a while because of stupid stories like this from pretend journalists. Doesn't look like I was missing much.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

I almost stopped reading because of stupid post from. But then where would I get my comedy relief?


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 2:56 a.m.

Train your dog to poop in your own yard. Then go for your walk.

Dog Guy

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 4:36 a.m.

Having the dogs foul my own yard would make a terrible stink. I prefer walkies


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 2:30 a.m.

When I walk I walk with a cane.And its not because I have a bad leg!

Kevin Maloney

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 2:14 a.m.

I lived around the corner from Slauson MS for ten years. An avid runner I initially cut through the park on my runs until I learned not to. I can't tell you how many times I had large dogs run at me or jump on me while their owners stood in a group and talked. Occasionally an owner would call out, "Come here Buster! Good boy!" and then continue their socializing. It wasn't every dog owner, but most of them just weren't paying attention and didn't seem to care that their pets were being a nuisance.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 7:38 p.m.

@jcj I am sorry. A cane is probably a good choice. I used to carry pepper spray after a couple of run ins with scary off leash dogs and some scary off leash humans. I never had to use it though.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

Woman in Ypsilanti Terrin was saying its illegal to use hollow points. That is what I was referring to. Just that hollow point ammunition is not illegal. I certainly do not advocate everyone using a gun for protection against dogs. That's why I carry a cane.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 6:29 p.m.

I am pretty sure that Ypsilanti has an ordinance that forbids the discharging of firearms within city limits. But I would imagine that anyone who was actually in danger could probably get away with shooting a dog without getting a ticket. Even so, if people started shooting any dog that happened to be off leash, it would stir up a whole lot of other issues about vigilante justice and firearms and such. Just the threat of it is making me feel a little bit unsafe because even though I don't allow my dog to run free in the park, I do often go to the park where the dogs are running around and I wouldn't feel safe if someone was shooting a gun at them. It isn't like you can trust everyone with a gun to have good aim.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 12:43 p.m.

Terrin "keep telling yourself that it is OK to discharge illegal ammunition" Another example of an uninformed poster! PLEASE show us where that statute can be found. What should be illegal is posters posting false information!

Dog Guy

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 4:41 a.m.

In the old country, bicyclists had velo dogs to protect against dog attacks.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 4:24 a.m.

Terrin, you are mistaken. Hollow-point ammunition is perfectly legal in Michigan. Michigan places no statutory limitations on the types of ammo that can be used for self-defense, other than any ammo that might be federally regulated. Hollow-points are not only legal, they are recommended by most firearms instructors.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 3:56 a.m.

Great point, Kevin. They weren't paying attention to their dogs that were jumping on you, they were busy socializing with the other people. If they're so busy socializing, how could they possibly be watching their dog, and know when and WHERE they even dropped a pile?

Terrin Bell

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 3:32 a.m.

Yes, YpsiVeteran, keep telling yourself that it is OK to discharge illegal ammunition into a charging dog. Hope you have a good lawyer. You will need it.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 2:45 a.m.

I have two hollow-points waiting for the next dog that charges me when I'm out, either alone or with my dog. These people who let their dogs run freely in public, who stand there while their dog jumps on a total stranger, have no idea what it's like to be attacked by a dog, obviously, and no ability to see any situation from anyone else's point of view. It's quite easy to articulate a real and credible fear for one's safety in the face of a charging dog, and the law regarding a citizen's right to defend him- or herself in that situation is pretty clear.

Stupid Hick

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 1:52 a.m.

"#4. Some people take everything more seriously than I've ever taken anything." LOL, it was already clear by lesson two that the writer is pretty full of himself.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 1:44 a.m.

I have 5 Different Lessons: 1) AnnArbor.Com doesn't have enough real news to write about 2) You get what you pay for 3) Ann Arbor has two areas: Downtown and Everyone Else 4) Ann Arbor has two types of people: Those who think Downtown is Ann Arbor and Everyone Else 5) Dogs are treated better at Slausen then people are in Ann Arbor (the Everywhere Else part)


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 1:14 a.m.

The writer states: While I can't imagine stepping in a pile of dog droppings causing dire "social consequences" there's no reason to believe Fuller's claims aren't true. Obviously this guy hasn't been to middle school in a while. Trust me, those kids will never forget the day one of their classmates stepped in a big fact, that's what class reunions are for - to remind everyone of the day when.......well, you know. Come to think of it, stepping in doggie doo probably leads to bullying.....and we all know how much press that has received lately. I say "Stop doggie doo, stop bullying". Somebody should do some research on this, I may be on to something! In the meantime, if you're gonna have a dog that needs to run (and your backyard isn't big enough), buy a place in the burbs with a yard big enough to run your dog. Or run a horse. Nobody will care there....unless your dog kills your neighbors chickens. Then you've got another problem.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 12:31 a.m.

It can't be a coincidence that Vets was awash with dog feces just a couple of days after enforcement began at Slausen. I suspect this supposedly angelic "Dog Party" has more than a few members who couldn't care less about picking up after their dogs.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 12:13 a.m.

"The popularity, regularity and visibility of the weekly event led me to believe this was a highly organized, legal activity." You have GOT to be kidding.

A Voice of Reason

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 12:12 a.m.

Maybe the should spend their energy on the unbelievably costly, AAPS technology bond vote on Monday which is costing the financially strapped district $80,000 just to run a special election vs. waiting until November. That is the cost of one teacher. Also, it would be nice to know what expenses in the operating budget will know be covered by money raised from this bond. The MEA is pushing these technology millages statewide--it would be nice to know why and what they are up to! Please investigate it a little instead of rehashing old news. I always said that Ann Arbor people like their dogs more than children. Apparently so does


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 2:01 a.m.

Enough to better educate the children, I would imagine.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 12:53 a.m.

Woah. I wonder how much dog poop could be picked up for $80k?

Dog Guy

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 12:41 a.m.

Hush, A Voice of Reason, the "technology" (wink wink) vote is next Monday in order to avoid November's large turnout. It is enough that my fellow teachers (their parents & significant others, the electricians, U of M sophomores, and the legion of you-vote-for-mine-I-vote-for-yours tax parasites) know about the voting. So keep it on the down low.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 12:06 a.m.

@ Matt Cooper, re: I got a perfect fix for this issue: CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR DOG! Duh! But actually, that is not a perfect fix. If it was, the Dog Party would still be going on — the Dog Party folks, who would have to be crazy NOT to clean up, given the spotlight they are in, DO clean up, and, in fact, clean up WAY more than their own dogs' poop. As anyone who ever took the time to visit, for that less-than-one-percent-of-a-week that is the Dog Party's duration, could attest to. Pete Cunningham did just that, and you will notice that he came away with a pretty positive view of the Dog Party folks. CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR DOG! is the mantra of the Dog Party, and cries like, "Poop Alert! Poop alert! Who's got the tan Labradoodle?" are always followed by someone cleaning up. Cleaning up after the Dog Party dogs has never been the real problem. The real issue is that the Dog Party folks are highly visible, and serve as a perfect lightning rod for two disparate groups — well meaning people who truly are concerned about dog poop in the field, and internet trolls, who find the Dog Party folks the perfect target for their pre-existing, generalized anger. Add a filter to that will sort for people who regularly make angry comments, and you end up with something more approaching a rational discussion here. I'm not suggesting censoring these people, but it would be enlightening to have their track records — percent, or number of, deleted comments, for instance — posted alongside their names. Some people are just angry, that's all there is to it. Welcome to the internet!

Matt Cooper

Fri, May 11, 2012 : 2:55 a.m.

Well, hmsp, if you and the other dog owners who like to drop their scat where children have to play actually cleaned up as much mess as you claim you do, there'd be no problem at all, right? ("...the Dog Party folks, who would have to be crazy NOT to clean up, given the spotlight they are in, DO clean up, and, in fact, clean up WAY more than their own dogs' poop." What we really need is for people to stop defending these poop party dog owners and their self centered belief that they always clean up after their own dogs and NEVER leave anything behind (pun intended). And then get them to stop blaming everybody else for the mess they left behind. And when you're done putting filters on those people you don't like for no reason other than because they disagree with you, why not try putting in a special one for those that like to think they walk on water and do no wrong.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 11:51 p.m.

Oh're better than this...#firstworldproblems

Unusual Suspect

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

To steal from another commenter, #this #is #not #twitter (thankfully).


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 11:54 p.m.

BTW - I'm new here and think the legal dog parks are FANTASTIC! They are both huge compared to some city standards, and the southeast one is like dog heaven. They aren't ever too crazy crowded...guess I figured out why...


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 11:33 p.m.

I really don't understand dog owners sometimes. We all love our pets, but they are NOT children. They are 100% unpredictable, there is no certain way to predict whether or not they will attack or charge another living thing. If dog owners want to risk it, they must be in a completely enclosed area. What is so hard to understand about this? I was driving down Stadium Road and a woman was next to the road, "in the process" of putting leashes on her two dogs. One of them ran out in front of my car and I almost hit it. Put your dogs on a leash or inside a fence. Don't be stupid.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 10:40 p.m.

the reality is...this will build up again at some random uncontrolled place. The haters will complain the lovers will continue and until somebody decides on a rational approach, people will run there dogs as the please legal or not. The "not" being because running them legally is nearly impossible.

Matt Cooper

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 10:29 p.m.

What I'm wondering is if any of you dog lovers who think that you should be able to let your dog dump wherever he wants and you not have to clean it up have ever asked any of the kids that have to play in that field and risk stepping into your dogs feces whether they like you having your own personal dog run on their school yard. I got a perfect fix for this issue: CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR DOG! It's really not that difficult a concept to understand is it? You wipe your own behind to clean up your mess when you dump, so start cleaning your dogs mess when he does.

Matt Cooper

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 10:34 a.m.

LOL "Seeing as I have the experience and you are just making wild suppositions based on nothing" Whose making wild suppositions based on what? That's rather snarky since you don't know me and know nothing of what my experiences are. Try some decaf.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 2:46 a.m.

I don't remember anything about rampant dog feces everywhere. Seeing as I have the experience and you are just making wild suppositions based on nothing, I'm gonna go with my experience. Also I live near abbott elementary, there is no dog get together there and there is plenty of dog feces in the playing fields.

Matt Cooper

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 1:50 a.m.

Right. So the 30 or 40 loose dogs running around couldn't possibly have left their scat everywhere for people to step in because all those 30 or 40 owners are watching their dogs quite literally every second and pick up every speck of poop. Right? Nah. It's gotta be all those rampant late night dog walkers. Yeah. It must be them. C'mon, man.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 11:57 p.m.

I actually went to one of these at a different school about a year ago. The people there were very diligent about picking up their own dog waste. They were also not afraid to call someone else out, should it be necessary. I would guess more poop is left behind by random dog walkers cutting across the school fields, than these organized groups. I know when I was 12 or 13 and I walked my dog I didn't pick up the poop if I thought I could get away with it.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 10:11 p.m.

This just in: Number of comments on story posted at 11:00 am about missing U-M student: 3 Number of comments on story posted at 2:58 pm about dog feces: 56


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 10:37 p.m.

Perhaps all the ne'er-do-wrong dog owners of the old west side could organize a search party, and put their dogs' sense of smell to good use by helping to track down the missing student.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

Honestly. The things we choose to care about...

Urban Sombrero

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 9:49 p.m.

As the owner of 2 dogs, I agree that off-leash time is a necessity. Still: For the love of all that's holy, people, pick up your dog's poop! If you don't, you make all of us look bad. And, honestly, why walk them/off-leash them at a school, of all places? We have a million parks in this town. Why not use one of those instead of a place where kids are on an almost daily basis? Seriously. Take your pups to the Arb or something. Leave the schools to the kids.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 11:35 p.m.

Thank you! Well said.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 9:41 p.m.

Oh, BS people! You hypocrites! Like you don't ever bend the law or drive over the speed limit or don't stop at the stop sign! Like you always drive the residential streets at posted speeds rather then race through to the point we have to install speed bumps to stop you! Not one of you is so pure including Pete Cunningham. There is no more "bio-degradable substance out there then dog poop. Three rains and it's fertilizer. Yet our laws say; "double bag in plastic" so that it lasts in landfills FOREVER. You don't even vaccinate your kids for Health reasons but we all have to get rabies shots for the dogs. I have to license my dogs in Ann Arbor but get nothing for that at all. Nothing! Another tax on some of us. But keeping walking down the railroad tracks on game days unless your a little old lady!


Sat, May 5, 2012 : 1:22 a.m.

dog poop is what causes parvo in other dogs, how is it fair that you're too lazy to pick up a pile of poop and let another dog could die because of it??


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 10:35 p.m.

I'll readily acknowledge that I break all sorts of laws, all the time, on a regular basis. In fact, I'll bet one of those speed bumps in your neighborhood is named after me. However, I don't begrudge the police for issuing traffic tickets, because it;'s their job. If you willfully break the law, accept the consequences if/when you get caught. By the way, your finger-pointing at random motorists and parents is classic behavior when someone realizes they are on the wrong side of an argument that you can't win. Cheers!

Urban Sombrero

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 9:57 p.m.

So, the next time you step in a fresh, steaming pile of dog mess that someone neglected to pick up, you're all going to be, "No harm, no foul", right?

Ricardo Queso

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 9:20 p.m.

Snitches get stiches they say.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 9:06 p.m.

I'm looking at the current poll results and wondering, what is wrong with another dog park? Wouldn't that help alleviate the problem? From the comments in the last few articles it is clear to me that (1) there is a need for a central location for off leash play, and (2) a law / ordinance doesn't stop everyone, so enforcement resources will have to be spent. Satisfy that need and hopefully the people letting dogs off leash in non-dog parks will lessen / stop and Ann Arbor won't have to waste enforcement resources. Or, is it a "not in my back yard" issue and everyone that thinks two is enough is just afraid that their park will be the one converted to a dog park?


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 11:06 p.m.

Dog guy: I don't know, I'd be okay with it in my neighborhood.

Dog Guy

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 10:45 p.m.

mc244: Why would people not want a dog park in their neighborhood? Is there something unpleasant about a dog park?

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

I've kind of never understood that either. Years ago when there was a group lobbying for any dog park at all, there was such opposition that eventually the compromise reached was a dog park located on top of an old landfill where no one else would want any park land and the dog people had to agree that a fee would be charged. There is an attitude that money should not be spent on dogs which has always puzzled me because it isn't money spent on dogs anymore than basketball courts are money spent on basketballs. The parks are for people and the last time I checked, people with dogs are still people. I also imagine that there really hasn't been a perceived need for a dog park. That is why I don't take any effort to try to have one established in Ypsilanti. People allow their dogs to run free in Riverside park and that seems acceptable to the dog owners who do that. It is also acceptable to me even though I can't allow my own dog off leash. I still enjoy going down there and watching the dogs play. I would be much more motivated to lobby the city for a dog park if the status quo were changed though and I am sure that is true in Ann Arbor too. Enforce the leash laws and people will see more of a need for a dog park. It might just be the kick in the pants people need. I mean, didn't the whole skate park thing get going because the powers that be started cracking down on the kids with skate boards? That happened in Ypsi too which is why we have such a nice DIY skate park. I also love that even though I don't skate.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 9 p.m.

Dog owners in central Ann Arbor, or anywhere, "deserve" a dog park. Deal with it.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 9:20 p.m.

oops - DON'T "deserve"


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:59 p.m.

As a dog owner, dog lover, leash law abider, and someone who finds whiners actually pretty funny, this whole flap has been amazing. Honestly, though, my dogs and I thank you for keeping your dogs on a leash, and we definitely support the idea of creating more sanctioned, legal areas or times for unleashed dog frolicking. And please, folks, obey the leash laws at Bird Hills. So much poop, and lots of leashed dogs being harassed by those running untethered.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 12:18 a.m.

Agree on bird hills. One off-leash dog attacked mine and I had no choice but to kick it in the head, and I did it quite briskly. The owner was not happy. I didn't lose any sleep over it.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:57 p.m.

Ann Arbor...the "educated" Mecca of Michigan where more people take the time to vote (671) on stupid dog issues than they do their own elected officials....amazing....


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

Congratulations to Pete Cunningham. He is now officially a "tabloidist". Note that I did not say reporter or jounalist. He's interested in hype and making a name for himself but not the news. Ann Arbor has an abundance of really important issues and he missed them all. Wait a minute, maybe is a tabloid as it certainly doesn't contain much (if any) journalism.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 12:19 a.m.

There hasn't been journalism here since they let Ed Vielmeti go.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 12:02 a.m.

I applaud Pete for actually hitting on a local issue. I'm sick of reading ridic stories when I would rather know whats going on in my community. If this is whats be it and if some sort of positive change comes out of it then "thank you Pete!"


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

This is why journalism is DEAD...thanks Pete!


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.

Rule #1A - If reporters from show up and start asking you about your illegal dog get together, don;'t give an interview.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

This article deserves an award for "Best Interpretation of Mining Sh*t for Gold".

Sandy Castle

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

Love it! Thanks for a great article and the ensuing entertainment it brought about. Next up how about a story involving bicycles and cars? LOL


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 11:39 p.m.

Actually, a story about bicycles and cars, or even pedestrians, would be a more relevant issue to A2, considering the increase in accidents nationwide.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:50 p.m.

Ooh! I second this!

K Thompson

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:13 p.m.

The dog owners are crying poor but blatantly ignore the rules. No pity for them re: Slausen, which is clearly posted. Instead they should work to raise $ to get fenced zones in more neighborhood parks. The 2 that exist now are too far away. Neighborhood parks for neighborhood dogs would be nice. I am a dog owner si I know how nice it woukd be to have more places.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:08 p.m.

Why doesn't your poll have an option for NO?


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

Everyone else? Everyone else minus 1 maybe.

Middle America

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 10:35 a.m.

Woah, jcj was actually right! jcj - 1. Everyone else - 1,000,000,000.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:19 p.m.

Read it again!


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

What is it with reporters that they like to try to impress everyone with how much trouble they can bring dan on people. I agree that an athletic field is no place for dog poop but this reporter and one former reporter seem to go out of their way to rat on folks. Better a dog park at Vet's park than a skatepark with possible legal problems there. As someone said, there are more dog owners than skateboarders. I would like to see more responsible journalism instead of dumb muckraking. Seems to me the ordinance sign was posted next to the other sign just to confuse matters. If the school had been up in arms about the 10 year old Saturday romps they would have done something about it before the "outing" by this "journalist". And no, I don't walk my dog in Ann Arbor on or off leash.


Sat, May 5, 2012 : 1:19 a.m.

I skateboard therefore I am unlawful... right.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 12:01 p.m.

Sometimes when you have nothing to say you are better off just saying that.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

I would like to see less off the wall post!


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8 p.m.

Best line in EVER: "Feces are not subject to FOIA." Who knew?! Nice wrap up.

John of Saline

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:13 p.m.

DNA testing could work, though. (Seriously--someplace out east was doing that.)


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 7:52 p.m.

Lesson 6 should be storeis about dogs off leash are good for advertising revenue because of the clicks they generate. There are no bad dogs, just bad owners.

Cendra Lynn

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 7:42 p.m.

And your point is? This fluff is what this non-news non-paper thinks will sell ads. Poop to that. The dog parties will resume as soon as you've all gone on to other fluff. Sheesh!


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:18 p.m.

What you mean is YOU get to choose which laws you might obey? I hope you don't have kids to teach this is how you go through life!


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 7:39 p.m.

Does this mean the old west siders will go back to complaining about architecture and shaking their fists at the traffic on Jackson Ave?

rusty shackelford

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

Pete, the original story was pretty dumb, but it did succeed in stirring up pointless controversy, so kudos on that. This column dedicated to making fun of idiots, on the other hand, was golden. Make it a regular thing. This is the best non-Stanton piece on the site in a while.

Kilgore Trout

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

So even if a posted notice tells me it's prohibited, I'm allowed to ignore it for my personal convenience. Good to know with the Peony Garden in Nichols Arboretum almost in bloom I can take home a nice bouquet.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 9:42 p.m.

I do both on a regular basis, Mark. But neither of those activities has ever made a 12 year old smell like animal feces.

Mark Evans

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

I'll assume you've never, ever exceeded the speed limit or jaywalked.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

I doubt that the children playing in the school yard ever had to worry too much about used prophylactics and heroin needles during gym class.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:18 p.m.

LOL. What cracks me up about this whole argument is that every time it comes up, I think of all of the things I have done on AAPS property over the years. Granted mostly when I was a student in AAPS and a dumb teenager but seriously, I have violated much worse laws than allowing my dog off leash. Sex Drugs and Rock and Roll!


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

lol Kilgore Trout! Were you in that band? I remember seeing you guys back in the day. Kalapalooza FTW!


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

It is not the city's responsibility to take care of your dog -- it is yours. If you do not have the resources to take care of a dog without expecting someone to swoop in and save you or your pet, then you should not get a dog. Animals have no choices in how their lives end up, we who accept them into our homes and hearts must be willing to sacrifice, if that means getting into a car and driving to a dog park, or asking a friend with a fenced in back yard to let your dog play, then that is what you do. It is up to the dog's owner to give their dog a good life.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Fri, May 4, 2012 : 12:07 a.m.

So if say 50% of the people in a town all thought that as individuals they would each enjoy a dog park or would like to see others enjoy it, if the city puts in a dog park, is the city meeting the needs of individuals or are they meeting the needs of people? I don't live in Ann Arbor as I hope you might have guessed so I really do not have a dog in this fight. I am not demanding that a dog park be placed right outside of my home. But I understand your concerns about money. I would not for one minute want the city to pay a lot of money for a fancy dog park when they're cutting important things like police and fire and the schools. I am fine with how things are right now without another penny being spent.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 11:22 p.m.

"..meeting *their* own needs..." Sorry for the typo.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 11:21 p.m.

I'm fascinated by the idea of someone walking around with the idea that government is supposed to meet the needs of individuals. Government is supposed to meet the needs of people. And all this time I thought the role of government was to make sure the road was clear for all people to set about meeting there own needs. Silly me.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 11:18 p.m.

I like your thinking. If people want money, the city should plant trees that grow it. I get it now.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

@YpsiVeteran I won't deny that I would be thrilled if the city decided to officially designate some parkland close to me for use as a dog park. Why do you think it is acceptable for the city to meet the needs of its residents when it comes to park land. If people want to play basketball, the parks dept should build basketball courts. If people want to take their children to play in the park, the parks dept should build play structures. And yes, if a city has a lot of dog owners, they should build dog parks. It is one thing to be upset about poop in the park or even off leash dogs. But once you start getting upset about people exercising their right to petition their government to meet their needs (something government is supposed to do), well...I don't know. Good luck trying to pass an ordinance to forbid *that* .


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 2:30 a.m.

WiY, Ann Arbor already has two, but those aren't good enough for you because you can't walk to them, and the parking lots are unpaved (Oh My!). Perhaps the city should spend tax dollars to build one for you in front of your house. Would that make you happy? Of course, people who don't live withing a block or so of you will be unhappy, because, like you, they don't want to have to drive to the dog park, so the city will need to build them parks, too.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

But you wouldn't consider lobbying for a nice free dog park to be taking care of one's dog?

Wolf's Bane

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 7:29 p.m.

West Park needs a dog park.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 5:57 p.m.



Wed, May 2, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

Great follow up article, Pete.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

I remember Juliana Keeping's infamous "Dog Column". THAT was good comment-reading. WOW!


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:11 p.m.

That was a pile of journalistic poo if I ever read one!


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

Full disclosure: I like dogs but don't own one. I'm continually baffled by the status dogs have in this town. It seems that dog owners won't consider going anywhere they can't bring their dog. It's almost rare to see a car without a dog in it. As a landlord it seems that every prospective tenant has a dog. I've lived in Detroit suburbs and didn't see anything similar to the dog culture here. They are so ubiquitous that it seems that dog owners think everyone loves (or is required to love) their dog.

Ann English

Thu, May 3, 2012 : 12:29 a.m.

The last dog I had was a very friendly dog, and she cheered up an arthritic dog who had been lethargic before meeting her. So the other dog began exercising again. I didn't take my dog everywhere, just to the vet and left her in the car a few times if I went grocery shopping after taking her to the vet. In any case, she learned to communicate that she wanted to go to the vet because she wasn't feeling well by simply going to my car, waiting to be let in. She was a great icebreaker when it came to meeting new neighbors. She loved people and was glad to see them, new and old. I know there are people who don't like dogs, but she learned quickly if they didn't want to return her greetings.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

"While I can't imagine stepping in a pile of dog droppings causing dire "social consequences" there's no reason to believe Fuller's claims aren't true. " Been a while since middle school, eh? I don't think teasing comes much crueler than in these years, and when you're 13ish, every put-down feels dire.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

That line struck me as really off as well. A middle school kid coming in from recess with excrement on his clothes? Yeah, no one would ever think to mock that /eyeroll.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

Teasing or not, people of any age are going to feel self-conscious when they smell like canine feces.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 7:19 p.m.

Here's the thing - when there's still canine fecal matter on the fields, and there will be, it means people are walking their dogs there at night. And I doubt the city or anyone else will be patrolling for that. A while back, a lifelong Ann Arbor resident commenting on this issue said he had moved to Chelsea to get away from this kind of, well, fecal matter. No kidding. I couldn't agree more. It's not the town I grew up in, that's for sure.


Thu, May 3, 2012 : 4:09 a.m.

If uptight means not wanting the kids to be subjected to falling in dog crap while on school property, then call me Steve Erkel's pants...


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 9:01 p.m.

Sooooo, what town is it now?

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

I can't agree more. when I was a kid in Ann Arbor people always let their dogs run free in the park behind my house. But somehow along the way, people in Ann Arbor seem to have gotten more uptight. I just keep hoping that they really haven't and it is just that the comments on make it seem that way.

Laurie Lo

Wed, May 2, 2012 : 7:19 p.m.

I find it interesting that West Park was suggested in the poll as a possible location for unleashed dogs. Clearly, the person who chose that location doesn't walk through West Park very often. It is already an "unleashed" dog Lollapalooza. I keep my dog on a leash and have to constantly deal with off-leash dogs charging at my dog while their owners call from 100 yards away, "Don't worry, he's friendly." Then their dog tries to eat my dog.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but at what point does the dog owner's desire to let their dog off it's leash trump another person's right to walk/run through a park without being accosted? I like dogs, but I know plenty of people who don't, for any number of reasons. Your right to swing your arms about ends 1 centimeter from the tip of my nose.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

justcurious Have you EVER witnessed a dog fight? Do you acknowledge that they do happen? Why is it incumbent on dog owners that follow the rules to "relax a bit" You living in a fantasy world!


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 8:09 p.m.

Laurie, maybe you need to relax a bit and understand that dog's just want to say hello by sniffing each other's behinds. Keeping them apart while exuding fear from your very being does not help the situation.


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 7:18 p.m.

What a load of &S@#! :)


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 7:16 p.m.

They say dog owners look like their dogs..sounds like some of them have about the same comprehension skills. "No Dogs Allowed", and no allowing animals to defecate/urinate in a school area where kids and adults are exposed to the germs and foulness. I have a dog, and would never walk her in a school zone (or a dog park, those places are seriously foul!).


Wed, May 2, 2012 : 7:12 p.m.

Hahahahahaaa! Thanks This is TOO funny. I could not have gone another day without another dog poo story. Enjoy, readers!