When LAPS says dog park … what do we mean? | SummitDaily.com

When LAPS says dog park … what do we mean?

Sally Beeruppresident of the League for Animals and People of the Summit (LAPS)

Picture a large enough area (say five acres?) with a protective, but stylish fence around the perimeter, where you and your mutt can cavort without being glared at, shouted at or otherwise put in harm’s way … where owners are under peer pressure from the other happy dog park users to pick up Fido’s waste and dispose of it in the proper and plentiful trash cans … where the plastic “pick up” bags are supplied for your convenience … where dogs don’t feel closed in and thus possibly threatened by other dogs or people and can run till they drop from the pure exhilaration of being off leash like they were meant to be … where there are benches for people to simply watch for entertainment and socialize with other people with or without dogs (since humans need interaction as much as the dogs in some cases) … where there are amenities like a permanent agility course (maybe one for beginners and one for experts) … where there are some trees for both shade and the all important sniffing propensity … and don’t forget a lovely water source for the dogs … pure doggie heaven!What would not be allowed in a Dog Park: No unsupervised dogs or children, no food, no dogs or humans who can’t get along with others of either species and absolutely no tolerance for dog waste left unattended. A Dog Park is a “destination playground” (not to be confused with the kiddie one that Dillon is discussing) benefiting both dog owners and non-pet people alike, by giving dogs a place that is so much fun and worry-free that the owners might stay off some of the trails and/or areas that they frequent now (which might make a few hikers, bikers and skiers very happy). People and animals who have regular, pleasant interactions are emotionally and physically healthier than those who are either unable or unwilling to socialize … dogs are a universal bond between most humans and for some lonely people, they take away a little of that isolation. We’re all aware of the studies that contend that any species that is isolated, whether it be emotionally or physically, will be a more volatile entity with sometimes sad or violent results.Summit County is constantly trying to be innovative, progressive and unique … please help our town leaders see that a dog park is all of that and more! Right now, if you’re traveling with a canine companion, would you stop in Summit County at the risk of getting a ticket for having your pet in the wrong place without a leash or would you keep driving closer to Denver where there are dozens of dedicated spaces for off-leash fun? A dog park won’t solve all the problems we have with dogs on the loose, dog waste and dogs “in the way” of a sport, but it would be a start and it would definitely make a positive difference. There will always be humans who can’t seem to follow the rules of society and will cause problems, but hopefully they will be the minority in Summit County. Please support the LAPS initiative for a dog park in Summit County and maybe one of the towns will realize what they and their voters are missing … not more retail shops or peaks to ski, but more avenues of harmless fun for a section of the Summit County population (that would be the four-legged residents) that quite possibly outnumber the children. Isn’t it time that we as pet owners got a piece of the parks and recreation pie? Aren’t we the only ones who haven’t been given a special dedicated place on town property like the skateboarders, disc golfers, ballplayers, bikers, hikers, children ad infinitum?For more information or a partial list of dog parks in Colorado, please go to our website http://www.summitlaps.com or e-mail Sally Beerup at LAPS@colorado.net and voice your opinions! Frisco Town Council members should be written to c/o Town of Frisco, PO Box 4100, Frisco, CO 80443. Dillon’s members c/o Town of Dillon, PO Box 8, Dillon, CO 80435, Silverthorne’s c/o Town of Silverthorne, PO Box 1309, Silverthorne, CO 80498 and Breckenridge’s c/o Town of Breckenridge, PO Box 168, Breckenridge, CO 80424.

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