Why We Shouldn’t Build A Dog Park

By Rory Kendall

February 21, 2022

The following was sent to me in an email, and I have reprinted it here with Rory’s permission. I am very grateful that Rory took the time to respond to my original article. I replied to Rory in Dog Park Idea Worth Pursuing.

I noticed from the Post that it seems you want to have a dog park here in RSF? Before anybody seriously brings the issue up to the RSF HOA BOD, there are some important factors we have to consider.

This seems to fall under the umbrella of ideas that are supposed to bring us together and guarantee that we will have lots of fun. In the recent past when we have tried for things that fit that criteria, they have always slammed into a brick wall as embarrassing, community-dividing failures. Remember the swimming pool, or the gypsy-style farmer’s market, or the playground at the soccer field? All of these were Grade A flops and I see a dog park as following them down the same embarrassing pathway to failure. They all promised to bring us together and that we would have lots of fun. Seems that’s the same idea for the dog park?

Below is a cut/paste of the rules for dog parks in Los Angeles. How would we enforce our rules? We know that people don’t follow the rules of no dogs on the golf course or little league field, and people also ignore dog leash rules, why would any of us think people would follow stricter rules where lots of dogs are in the same area? Have you ever gone for a walk along the golf course and seen tied-up baggies filled with dog defecation deliberately left behind along the riding trails?

Where would the dog park be placed? How would we guarantee that outsiders wouldn’t help themselves to our new facility as gate crashers to maybe get social status by sneaking their way into our community? How would liability be handled? You know there were people within the community who brought suit against the HOA over unequal dues (who also brought shame and embarrassment and disgrace upon themselves and lost copious amounts of credibility in the community for doing so), why would we think that outsiders wouldn’t do the same over a dog bite? Our BOD shouldn’t have to waste their time with outsiders and their lawsuits.

Have you contacted the County to see what the requirements are for a dog park? Probably the most embarrassing failure was when a previous BOD approved the gypsy-style farmer’s market without finding out from the County about the permits needed to shut down the street. After a lengthy battle pitting association member against association member, the idea was dropped, presumably, because the County requires 52 permits to shut down a street each Saturday for a year and we are only granted 5 per year. Have you looked into these kinds of things to see if we should even begin to consider a community-dividing dog park? What about parking requirements?

I don’t know if you have lived here long enough to know that we do best when we lead and let lesser communities copy how we do things. Every time we try to copy how lesser communities do something (like a dog park) it usually goes down as embarrassing, community-dividing failure. Let’s join together and show some strength against the Santa Fe Irrigation District, or other things that benefit all of us, and not against each other. I’m weary of all of these attempts to bring the community together when they only have the opposite outcome. If there was really something to having a dog park, we would have already had one by now.

Leave a Reply