Dog owners need to take responsibility for pets’ actions
The letter about dogs and the Waimea Nature Park written by Cheryl Langton and Carol Hendricks in the July 22 edition of West Hawaii Today was long overdue. In fact, I think those two ladies were a little too soft on some dog owners who frequent the park.
I have been a volunteer at the nature park and also at the Waimea Trails Project since inception and am not authorized to speak for the nature park or the trails committee. However, as a volunteer, I have seen and witnessed the utter disregard for others and especially young children by some dog owners that defies the imagination.
As with the other volunteers I work with in maintaining the park, we give our time in an effort to provide the community with a place to relax and enjoy nature. It gives us great pleasure to see parents bring their children there to play, to roll down the hill or just run on the trails hiding from each other. It is very pleasing to see a child taking his or her first steps in a setting surrounded by nature as the parent watches in undeniable adoration and love. These incidences combined with the couples and families who share picnic lunches together in the park fulfill the intent of our efforts.
Then comes a vehicle with dogs. The owner lets them out to run or in most cases, attaches a leash to the dog. The leash is acceptable and appreciated. On some occasions, the dog will instinctively run to the first tree or picnic table leg and urinate while the owner pretends not to notice. On other occasions, the dog will relieve himself on the lawn, leaving a pile of dog poop while the owner again pretends not to notice and walks away with the dog following. Besides the hazard it presents to the young children, it is a disgusting obstruction for us who maintain the lawn.
These two situations cannot coexist and still keep everyone happy. Given a choice, I suspect that volunteers would rather see the child remain and the dog banned. Given the same choice, I suspect the parent would refuse to allow children to roam freely in a park with piles of dog poop. Given the same choice, I hope that the dog owners would consider others, pick up and clean up after their dogs or refrain from using the nature park.