City leaders want to build more off-leash dog parks, partly as a response to the trend of "pandemic puppies" that has led to a sharp spike in urban dog ownership.
As the pandemic forced people to isolate from their friends and co-workers, many Americans took solace in adopting a furry friend. As Marcela García writes for the Boston Globe, "the dog economy is booming." With so many "pandemic puppies" in new homes, "soon-to-be mature dogs will be matriculating in public spaces and will insist that their voices are heard." Recently, city officials in Boston confirmed that they want to build a dog park in every neighborhood, but some opponents push back on what they see as a frivolous use of public funds.
Proponents of public off-leash dog parks argue that the parks can reduce "unwanted and sometimes dangerous" interactions and create vibrant community hubs for both people and pets. And although dog-on-dog violence and accidents do occur, writes García, "there is a level of responsibility and etiquette that comes with ownership. That includes licensing your animal, 100 percent poop pickup — no excuses — and following leash laws except when one is sure no harm or hassle will ensue." More public dog parks can help urban dogs and their owners stay healthy, social, and sane long after the pandemic.
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