With dog parks becoming ever more popular, one woman is advocating for a different approach: people-only parks.
Thanks to the ever-increasing number of dog owners in the United States, the number of dog parks continues to expand, too. Many dog owners appreciate dog parks where they can allow their dogs to roam off-leash, and dog parks become particularly important in city areas where there's limited space to let dogs run. But a woman has recently proposed a counter to dog parks: people-only parks.
Ellen Taft, the president of Citizens for the Protection of Volunteer Park in Seattle, Washington, is requesting more regulations for areas where dogs are allowed off-leash. Among some of Taft's requests are that off-leash dog parks are made off-limit to dog walkers, unlicensed dogs, and pit bulls.
But that's not all that Taft is proposing. Taft also wants to reserve public land for people-only parks where dogs aren't allowed. She requests that, since a percentage of public land is reserved for dog parks, that same percentage also be reserved for people-only parks. Currently Seattle has 14 off-leash dog parks.
Taft also wants to limit households in Seattle to owning one dog, instead of the current limit of three dogs per household. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation estimates that there are approximately 160,000 dogs in Seattle.
Taft has previously experienced multiple dog attacks. Her 10-month-old child was attacked by three dogs while in a wading pool in a park in 1991. Taft herself has been chased by dogs multiple times while she's out running.
Her requests raise the valid point that not all people are dog lovers, and that people should be able to attend parks without worrying about potential dog attacks. However, some of Taft's requests, such as lowering the household dog limit, could dramatically alter the lives of both dogs and dog owners in Seattle. It will be interesting to see what comes of Taft's requests.