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Small Dog Park Lists New Exercise Area Rules

A new sign has been posted at the Alameda Small Dog Park stating some new rules and regulations for dog handlers. What do you think of them?

The Alameda Recreation and Park Department recently posted a new Dog Exercise Area Rules sign at the Alameda Small Dog Park near 8th Street and Portola Avenue.

A few new rules have been added and some have been tweaked.

Among them:

  • Dogs must be vaccinated and legally licenced.
  • Handlers must by at least 15 years old.
  • Children under the age of 8 are not permitted in off-leash dog areas.
  • Children ages 9 to 15 must be accompanied by an adult. The previous sign, which can still be found at the dog park for larger dogs just states that those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Violating these rules is considered a misdemeanor and can result in citations and/or expulsion from the park.
  • The City of Alameda is not responsible for injuries or illnesses of dogs and/or their handlers. The signs say to enter at your own risk.

To compare the two signs, check photos of them shown above.

What do you think of these new rules? Are they necessary? What have your experiences at the Alameda dog parks been like?

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Soccer Dad February 19, 2013 at 10:19 PM
I suspect this rule was made with complete disregard for the actual facts of what happens in the park. Has there EVER been a child attacked by a dog in the small dog park in Alameda? Is there any actual real-world problem the new rule is attempting to cure? My guess is that the answer is "no." Just a rule made at a bureaucratic whim because some other municipality did it.
Carol Parker February 19, 2013 at 10:32 PM
Maybe someone from the City of Alameda could weigh in on this.
Menk February 20, 2013 at 03:59 AM
Last time I was at the park a 5 year old girl threw a handful of sand in my dogs face. ( got sand in his eyes) she was throwing sand at other dogs too. I agree with the new rules.
Soccer Dad February 20, 2013 at 04:16 AM
My child has never done that. Why should she be punished? What kind of lesson is that for children and people in general? That they should be punished for things they had nothing to do with?
Pacita Dimacali February 20, 2013 at 06:27 AM
Some rules they should have: --- All dogs must be accompanied and supervised by their owner. Don't drop off your dog and then leave --- This is not a picnic area. Don't bring food! (There was an episode where a mother brought a birthday cake for a party in the large dog area. Guess what happened when a hungry Labrador jumped on the table?) --- Don't let young kids wander away. Big, rumbunctious, running dogs can knock them over.
Mickey Neill February 20, 2013 at 02:09 PM
I agree with the people that sit/abandon their dogs and plop in chairs, they need to pick up their dog waste.
Mickey Neill February 20, 2013 at 02:12 PM
And for heavens sake people don't let you children play in the dirt, you fools dogs go to the bathroom in it. I've seen kids digging in the soil, it's gross. And that's with a parent present.
John-Michael Kyono February 20, 2013 at 03:08 PM
Yes... it's a huge bathroom. kinda nasty. the balls, toys, etc. rules are there for a reason. I have seen bad behavior from dogs, parents and children. I believe they are there so people can actually soak up and say something without being offensive.. "rules say this" kind of like taking shoes off at certain play areas. not all kids do it some parents speak up because of the rules and some tolerate it. don't agree with them all but they exist for those some reason.
Virginia Jenkins February 20, 2013 at 05:04 PM
I've been visiting the small dog park about 3 times a week with my 9 lb dog. This is a relatively safe place where little dogs can run free and socialize with other dogs and people and is especially important for handicapped people who cannot walk their dogs. I have not seen people drinking liquor (illegal in parks, by the way) but I have seen a couple of aggressive dogs where I just picked up my dog and left. I can't see the rules concerning children being barred, but perhaps their behavior can be put in the rules. E.g., no playing or poking with sticks, throwing rocks, sand, etc. The parents accompanying them are responsible for their children. The park is a valuable resource for small dogs and their owners. For the most part, owners have been courteous and conscientious. I hope it continues that way.
Lisbeth Allen February 20, 2013 at 07:22 PM
I can see how the City is worried about liability. Kids, like dogs, are rather unpredictable. I've had a couple of instances where kids have done weird things to my dogs. Now I don't let kids pet them as a result, since the law pretty much blames the dog (owner) no matter what. I've had a kid that was a complete stranger lean in and grab my dog's face in his hands, and try to kiss him. My dog was completely freaked out and snapped at him. Luckily my dog is a wimp and avoids all confrontation. He basically turned and ran from the kid after he freed his head. Turns out the kid had a dog at home so he assumed he could kiss everyone's dog. Now when a little kid wants to pet my dog, I tell them they can wave to my doggie.
Sarah February 21, 2013 at 04:34 AM
1) They should start by posting some guidelines for kids on how to approach dogs, not to play in the sand, etc. Then parents would have a reminder for themselves and a script for the kids. Might go a long way to helping kid-on-dog behavior. 2) If kids can't go to the dog park, then there are doggies that will not get out as much. Not good for dogs! 3) The only bite I've ever observed at the dog park is when my dog got very seriously bitten. Does that mean that DOGS should not go to the dog park, in case they get bitten?
Virginia Jenkins February 21, 2013 at 05:32 PM
I went to the small dog park yesterday and saw the new rules posted. I watched people coming in with their dogs and children. No one bothered to read the new rules. The children were well behaved but a couple of dogs got into a minor scuffle. It (the park) is obviously self-policing. My suggestion for those who don't want children around is to go when children are in pre-school or school and avoid weekends. I enjoy my time there with my little dog. It's a treat to watch about 20+ little dogs romping, running, and having a good time.
dj February 21, 2013 at 06:01 PM
Hey Virginia, some people work! Adults are the only ones with legal responsibilities, therefor all dogs and children should be supervised by an adult human. And hey you smokers, not allowed!
MK February 21, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Throwing sand into a dog's eyes is already illegal-this new, overly restrictive rule would not have affected that incident, but sure changes things for us (me, wife, 2 year old daughter, and a 3 year old Lab who LIVES for the dog park
Erica February 22, 2013 at 12:04 AM
Of course dogs should be supervised by an adult, but the new no-kids rule is unacceptable. How do I explain to my well behaved, dog loving 5yo boy that he can't come to the dog park anymore? We have been bringing our dogs there his whole life and never had a problem. He will be heartbroken and so will his 2yo brother.
Soccer Dad February 22, 2013 at 01:22 AM
Erica-- it's just plain wrong and we should not stand for it. I think we should mobilize all child-friendly dog-owners to overturn this ridiculous, entirely unnecessary rule. Alameda is supposed to be a family-friendly city-- this regulation runs counter to that. We should write the city, protest, practice civil disobedience-- whatever it takes.
Virginia Jenkins February 22, 2013 at 03:48 AM
I agree. The only reason 5 and 2 year old children are not allowed is because the City is afraid of its liability. In the same list of rules, it states, essentially that you enter at your own risk and the City is not liable. It's called an assumed risk. E.g., if you eat fish in a restaurant, you might get a bone (fish have bones). If you go to a dog park (I'm talking about the little dogs), if you provoke a little dog, it might bite and dog parks have dogs, obviously. But I have never seen this happen. I think small children should be allowed if with an adult.
G. Cobre February 22, 2013 at 04:03 PM
Put the children on a leash, let the dogs run free, after all it's a DOG PARK !! Problem solved :)
Nancy Torres February 22, 2013 at 07:18 PM
I also agree with you about the owners in the large dog park who do not watch or pick up after their dogs. I stopped going there long ago as it got to dangerous with some of the dogs who went unsupervised. I hope this will change in the future. It is great to have a dog park when people are responsible.
Harley February 22, 2013 at 09:02 PM
I can't tell you on how many occasions small, unsupervised children wander up to my dog and start petting him. He happens to have been abused by children and will instinctively bite. When I try to inform the child, there is a lack of comprehension. And sometimes I can't locate the parents. I am constantly on the alert to prevent this from happening, but if parents are to bring young children to the park, they must actively supervise them.
Harley February 22, 2013 at 09:13 PM
There is a similar sign there.
Harley February 22, 2013 at 09:18 PM
Are those people going to bite your children? The point is that parents should be supervising their children to avoid potentially harmful situations. There have been enough incidents to prompt such regulations.
Carol Parker February 24, 2013 at 04:46 AM
I was at the park today and see that the same sign also is posted at the large dog park too. It is at both sides of the park. Identical sign.
Deb February 24, 2013 at 09:41 PM
Well, I've seen kids in the small park and the large side. What scares me is that owners(not all) DO NOT watch their dogs at all! People don't pick up after their pets!! Kids under 8 run around inside the trees, playing hide and seek, and sometimes I see kids on the ground playing with the dirt and parents aren't supervising them. NASTY! The bigger side is much better anyways, cuz you can hide in the back especially when there's an unruly dog running around, wish I can say which dog that is......put that dog on a leash!
Harley February 24, 2013 at 09:59 PM
By making overly broad generalizations about dog owners ("People don't pick up after their pets"), you've nonetheless raised an important point: the dog park is not a children's playground. Rambunctious behavior is both unsafe for children and threatenting to dogs. I always clean up after my dogs, and supervise them carefully. But my responsible actions are for naught if parents ignore their children's actions.
Lisbeth Allen February 25, 2013 at 06:07 PM
I hate to break the news to you, but probably want to muzzle your dog if it is out in public. Under California law, the owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place. I absolutely commend you for rescuing the dog, and don't blame him one bit for being sensitized. Children are unpredictable. Just want to make you aware of the huge liability.
Harley February 25, 2013 at 07:14 PM
Jenna, one can convey the same sentiments without unprovoked sarcasm ("I hate to break the news to you"). In fact one is more likely to repsect the writer. You've told me nothing new. So I need to muzzle my dog because he reacts when threatened?
Virginia Jenkins March 02, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Yesterday, when entering the small dog park, I noticed that the sign had been changed concerning children. Now, children under age 15 must be accompanied by an adult. Somehow the powers that be got word that parents with small children were unhappy that their children could not go to the dog park at all. Good job people!!!!
Mickey Neill March 02, 2013 at 06:36 PM
Best part of living in a small town is sometimes the gov't listens to the people.
Harley March 02, 2013 at 06:46 PM
But do the people obey? Yesterday, I observed two children eating in the park, thereby attracting a group of food competitive dogs, who ended up snapping at the children. Then, these same children were "playfully" chasing a dog, who eventually cornered them at the fence. Of course, they were afraid and acting out. The owner of the dog had to leave the park! Let's read the rules and follow them, no matter what the age group.

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