Kudos to Elizabeth City City Council members Jeannie Young, Billy Caudle and Chris Ruffieux for expressing supportive, professional and forward-looking viewpoints with regard to situating a dog park in the Enfield area behind the Sonic Drive-In and Bo’jangles restaurants. Boos to the other council members for their shortsightedness and negativity.
It took great personal forbearance to listen to the comments made by these council members with regard to why a dog park should not be located in the Enfield area where a delightful splash pad is already being enjoyed by youth, along with ball parks and a basketball court. What reasons did these naysaying council members cite in voting against the dog park?
One was that because there’s a splash pad nearby, dogs could come into contact with children playing there and might hurt them. Another objection was that it took years to get swings for children, so now people wanted a dog park, too?
Another was that residents near the Enfield area likely would be “that element” who would own unmannerly pit bulls, who unrestrained by their owners, would eat other people’s Chihuahuas.
Or most damning of all: the freighted-with-innuendo comment one councilor made suggesting the location was in some ways so unsavory that dog owners would find the individuals playing basketball there threatening.
Stuff and nonsense!
The reality is that dog parks are places where all ages mingle, where “Bark in the Park: events are held, where there are competitions for “fastest tail wagger” and “best dog trick” and the SPCA can create connections for dogs who are waiting for rescue and forever homes. Dog parks allow dog owners a chance to be physically active with their off-leash pets and to help build relationships, converse and exchange information about upcoming events, doctors and vets.
The takeaway from this letter? City Manager Rich Olson framed things succinctly when he stated that ever since former Councilor Ray Donnelly floated the idea of bringing a dog park to Elizabeth City, the dog park has been 10 years of always being the first item to be removed from the budget when City Council sought to fund improvements. Ten years of always being the first item to be removed from the budget.
That should give citizens pause. It will be another 10 years, too, if dog lovers allow this ridiculousness on the part of City Council to continue. I would urge all of your readers who love their dogs, and who love Elizabeth City, to wage a firestorm of protest and letter-writing to City Council and the editor of The Daily Advance in favor of having a dog park.
Please do not allow this matter to drop, and the naysayers of City Council to bury this initiative for yet another year.