To: Santa Cruz County Parks & Recreation Commission;
Whereas, we, the undersigned constituents of Santa Cruz County, respectfully urge you to authorize the funding required to establish “off-leash” dog parks and grass athletic fields that allow dog sports such as obedience training, agility, fly ball, canine Frisbee and other organized canine activities. In creating dog parks and grassy canine athletic fields, we hope to accomplish multiple goals:
1. To establish a fenced in, off-leash dog parks and grass athletic fields that allow dog sports where well-behaved canine can exercise in a clean, safe environment.
2. To develop beautiful, well-maintained spaces, open to all dog lovers and friends who are willing to uphold the park's rules and restrictions.
3. To view dog parks as a community project, in partnership with the County of Santa Cruz, designed to satisfy the needs of the whole community.
We request the County of Santa Cruz and the Parks Commission to authorize adequate funding to provide appropriate fencing for both a small and shy dog area and a large dog area, including double gated entries, electricity outlets, sprinkler systems, lighting, asphalt, concrete or decomposed granite pathways, plant material, water availability, community bulletin boards, garbage cans, bag stations, benches, tables, human & dog water fountain(s), gate(s), and signage.
Unfortunately, no off-leash dog parks currently exist in the many local areas such as Live Oak, Seascape, and county areas. People often travel great distances to go to the few dog parks in the county adding unnecessary car traffic on our roads. Just as other taxpayers enjoy local and convenient public swimming pools, jogging trails, golf courses, soccer fields and playgrounds, dog owners need local places to exercise, train and enjoy their pets in an off-leash environment. Further, dog parks will benefit the greater community in the following ways:
1. “A good dog is a tired dog”. The cardiovascular benefit provided by healthy dog to dog play is great for dogs’ behavior longevity and weight control. Dogs are social animals whose mental health is improved by interaction with other canines. Happy, healthy dogs are calmer and better behaved, reducing nuisance barking and annoying behaviors exhibited by unexercised canines.
2. Dog park and canine athletic fields would increase general park utilization and build stronger communities.
3. The parks could also act as a venue for reputable animal adoption agencies to promote and/or stage pet adoptions and educational programs promoting an improved quality of life for all of our community dogs. The parks will provide license revenue for the city, which will also assist with the over all master plan of assuring that community dogs are vaccinated and altered.
4. Dog parks can help to reduce crime. Dog park patrons tend to be people who appreciate the park and take an "ownership interest" in it. As a result, they help keep local areas free of illegal activities.
5. Park patrons want to ensure a clean park for all the dogs attending. Feces pick-up and disposal is an integral part of retaining a clean park. Owners watch for and pick up their animal’s feces, and peer pressure effectively keeps parks clean.
6. Those who care enough to attend dog parks are usually registered voters, educated, affluent people who are very attractive to local businesses. Such citizens attract others like themselves to live in the area, continuing the trend to increase revenues to local business and to the tax base. Property values increase when dog parks open. Dog parks attract people to live in areas that have them.
We would appreciate your consideration in constructing enclosed “off-leash” dog parks in every local area possible in Santa Cruz.