285. The Park That Went to the Dogs

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When Winnie and Arnold bought their house at end of a cul-de-sac in 1980, they thought had died and gone to heaven. There were four houses on the street. Between their house their neighbor’s house was a dirt pathway. The led to a city-owned dog park, where dog could let their dogs run free. But there no parking lot for dog owners’ cars. Dog had to park on the street, and then their dogs to the leash-free park.

In 1980 one seemed to know about the park. The people who used it were the people who in the neighborhood. The neighbors used to joke they had their own private dog park.

Those the good old days. Things have changed. The has become like California in the Gold Rush . Everyone knows about it. A dog may be ’s best friend, but 1,000 dogs certainly are not.

the years, the neighborhood association, consisting of about houses nearest to the park, has begged the council to reduce park hours. It is open 7:00 to 7:00 seven days a week. But dog owners actually arrive at 6:00, saying that needed to beat the rush. To save walking , others park in neighborhood driveways. Others bring boom and play music loudly in the park. Others on neighborhood doors and ask to use the . Weekends are even worse than weekdays. Whole families the day with their dogs. People, dogs, noise, trash are everywhere.

“We’re stuck here,” said Arnold. “’ve been trying to sell my place for five . But when buyers see all this dog traffic, take off running. What a joke. This place heaven when we first moved here. Now it’s .”

The city council has ignored the neighborhood association’s for help. A council member said, “We have meet the public demand. This no-leash park is popular. I’m sorry, but if the homeowners don’t it, they can always move. This is a country, you know.”