People don't get park priorities, and dogs shouldn't sniff butts

Opinion

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JOHN HUBBUCH

There are many important issues that will confront Oak Park in the coming months and years, but perhaps none is more important than the issue of off-leash dogs. We need some perspective on this divisive issue, and I am willing to provide it.

My bona fides are pretty good. Assuming the laws of joint tenancy apply to dogs, then I have owned a dog with my wife here in Oak Park for at least 10 years. Hoosier and I have a well-documented dislike/hate relationship which I will not detail lest Marsha get mad at me. Suffice it to say that the life of a Yorkshire Terrier is much longer than a gold fish.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

According to Dan G. Parmer, Cook County Animal and Rabies Control administrator: "Of the 100 major diseases identified by the Centers for Disease Control, 37 can be passed from dogs to humans." Are you kidding me? How? Petting? Kissing on the mouth? Sharing needles? Unprotected sex? Is there such a thing as canine flu?

Dogs are animals, not people. According to a recent Wednesday Journal article, "Dog owners reacted last week to what they perceived as dogs being a chronically low priority on the park district's agenda." I think that children, parents, taxpayers, visitors, seniors, baseball players, soccer players, sunbathers, joggers, picnickers, and clandestine teenage drinkers all should have priority over dogs. Dogs should have a higher priority than squirrels, rabbits and pigeons.

I'm not sure about cats.

The dogs need to make better use of their off-leash time. I live just north of Lindberg Park, and I often run through there on the weekends. It seems to me that the dogs are spending way too much time sniffing each other's butts. I have to be honest. It is disgusting. If dogs are going to be off leash, then in my opinion they need to do something aerobic. Butt-sniffing is not aerobic. Dog obesity is a big problem.

There has been much discussion about a dog park. Great idea. I've got the perfect spot?#34;Barrie Park. Given this park's recently concluded ordeal with toxic waste, dealing with some irate dog owners and their dogs should be relatively easy.

Or how about an indoor dog park? Now that would be cutting edge. Forest Park doesn't have an indoor dog park.

The Colt building would be a wonderful spot.

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