Before I go any further, it is pertinent to say that not all greenways allow pets. The Chattanooga Riverpark is a nearby example. They have designated dog parks, and dogs, even on a leash, are not permitted on the Riverpark.
Some have asked that our Greenway banish pets. These complaints have come from those who have experienced an unpleasant step into something “unpleasant,” or those who have had a confrontation, either with the animal or its owner. Unfortunately, these incidents are going to happen when man and beast are mixed in a public setting.
The confrontations are not limited to man vs. dog. About three years ago, I witnessed an overzealous dachshund pay the price as he picked on a very patient Labrador. After about 15 seconds of “end-of-his-leash” snarling, the Labrador had had enough and grabbed the aggressor by his head and gave him a few shakes. Luckily, no animal was harmed, but the two pet owners were pretty shaken up by the drama.
When the Greenway board gets complaints about pets, it is usually neglect on the part of the pet owners. However, a vast majority of those who take their pets with them on the Greenway observe these common courtesies:
1. Keep your pet on a leash at all times: This is not just courteous, it is a rule. No pets are allowed to run without leashes while on the Greenway.
2. Clean up after your pet: This is also a rule. Dogs should be taken several yards off the Greenway to do their business. If an accident happens, it is the responsibility of the owner to clean it up. Several “Doggie-Pot” stands are located along the Greenway and contain bags for cleaning up after your pet.
3. Don’t allow your pet’s leash to block the Greenway: There has been more than one complaint involving owners who allow leashes to stretch across the width of the Greenway. This is extremely dangerous for approaching runners and bikers who may not see the leash in time.
One of the goals for the Greenway is to provide at least one dog park. Dog parks are becoming very popular and allow for dogs to run free in a designated, enclosed area. Watch for development on this in the coming months.
Also, one of the new additions to the Greenway is a water fountain that doubles as a fountain for dogs. The new fountain is located between 20th and 25th streets and has a separate ground-level spout for dogs on those hot summer days. Thanks to People for Care and Learning and the Cleveland Rotary Foundation for funding this newest addition.
Thanks to all the responsible pet owners who adhere to the rules and regulations. You help make the Greenway experience that much more pleasant!