Designating dog parks for smaller and larger dogs has become a debatable issue within many communities. Some find the idea brilliant, and others find it absolutely unfair. Kay Robinson-Johnson, a local member of the Fargo District community in North Dakota, recently expressed her disappointment concerning commissioner Barb Johnson’s proposal in an article published on the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. The idea was to build a park in the corner of Island Park, a nearby area in the community of the Fargo District, designated for small dogs. Kay has been taking her large golden retriever Lucy to this park for more than 20 years and was very upset with this idea. In the article Kay states, “What are we suppose to do with our retrievers, labs, shepherds and all larger dogs? … The proposal is unfair because dog park space for only half of our canine friends would be provided.” Although Kay’s argument is valid, the purpose of the proposal is based on canine safety. It is a reality that larger dogs do not play the same way as smaller dogs. Large dogs have the ability to play at any park without the fear of being attacked, whereas small dogs live in that fear every time they enter those dog park gates.

Another aspect to this debate involves the actual owners of dogs. Kay stated, “I also notice that there are dogs everywhere in our park, but the vast majority of them are leashed and led by considerate owners.” Although this may be the case at Island Park it is not in many other parks. Many owners do not respect the parks rules and regulations, which is why dog related occur many times. The issue at hand is that people do not respect the laws and etiquette surrounding dog parks and thus attacks have continued to occur.

The point of the proposal would not be to discriminate against larger dogs but to create a safe environment for small dogs to play in. Separating sizes would only create a better atmosphere for all types and sizes of dogs. It would create safety and save the lives of many small dogs who have gotten attacked in dog parks.

By Katharine MacCaskill