News

Council OKs plan to allow dogs in parks

City Council members decided to let dogs go off-leash in numerous city parks Tuesday, legalizing something that many residents at Tuesday's council meeting confessed that they were already doing.

"I've been studying this issue for about eight years and I have found that it works very well," said council member John McAlister, who said he used to bring his dog to Cooper Park every morning where a group of residents said they haven't had any conflicts or issues with letting their dogs off-leash during a regular time every morning, from 8:30 a.m. to about 10 a.m., despite the fact it wasn't legal. "I used to be part of the group but my dog passed away last Wednesday," McAlister said, his voice breaking up. "I can no longer enjoy the crowd but I see great benefit in this."

The council ended up voting 5-2 to allow dogs off leash at several parks for a one year trial: at Cooper, Bubb, McKelvey and Eagle parks Monday through Friday from 6 a.m to 10 a.m.; at Whisman park seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to a half a hour past sunset; at the Cuesta "dog training area" seven days a week from sunrise to sunset; and at the Cuesta Annex seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Council members Chris Clark and Ronit Bryant opposed the plan, proposed by McAlister, because of the inclusion of the Cuesta Annex. It's a place where Bryant noted that a rare great Blue Heron hunts, and that she'd prefer if the city consulted with wildlife preservationists before allowing off-leash dogs there. A representative of the Audubon Society said there wouldn't likely be an issue, but declined to go on record about it.

Council members said that having posted times for dogs to run off-leash could prevent conflict with residents who would like to avoid dogs.

"I'm also a dog owner and I have the cutest dog imaginable but not everyone likes him," Bryant said. "We do need to respect that fact that not everyone" wants to be around dogs. Dogs do bite, members said.

Council members rejected a recommendation from the Parks and Recreation Commission to build two new fenced parks, one at a parcel along Shoreline Boulevard near Eagle Park (costing up to $40,000), and another at Rengstorff Park costing $30,000. Both would have been be simple, fenced-in areas with a water fountain. Council members balked at the cost and at using up more space at Rengstorff, and residents complained that it wasn't a good idea to have dogs along busy Shoreline Boulevard.

The Parks and Recreation Commission recommended only two new off-leash areas, one at Whisman Park and another at Cuesta Park. A resident complained that many more parks were originally proposed for off-leash areas, such as Thaddeus Park in the Monta Loma neighborhood, but the commission removed them from the proposed trial program. All but two of the approved parks (Whisman and Eagle) are south of El Camino Real.

One resident used expletives to describe the city's only official dog park, far removed from residences at the north end of Shoreline Boulevard, saying that the crushed granite surface hurts dogs paws.

The city also has a new dog park at the Merlone Geier's "Village at San Antonio" development on San Antonio Road, which is open to the public. National statistics indicate that Mountain View should have two dog parks, while a survey of 30 Bay Area cities found that most cities have "at least one dog park, and the vast majority are fenced," said parks and open space manager Bruce Hurlburt. Menlo Park, San Carlos and Foster City all have off-leash dog programs in city parks.

Council members asked if the new time limits would be enforced and City Manager Dan Rich said that, like most things, it would be on complaint basis. "We don't have the resources to be out there every day," he said.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by bad idea
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 28, 2014 at 2:16 pm

I think this is a terrible idea. And I'm a dog owner. A number of dog owners who walk their dogs off-leash are deluded when it comes to their dog's behavior, ignoring when there dog is a nuisance to others. I don't trust them to know when their dog is putting another dog or a human in danger. When it comes to the Cuesta Park dog area, I have seen off-leash dogs basically form a pack and aggressively bark at humans who they deem to be a threat, while the owners sat, watched, and did nothing. This is just a terrible accident waiting to happen.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ML Mutt
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 28, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Totally agree with you, bad idea, and I'm also a dog owner. I'm not deluded about my dog's imperfect behavior and keep her on the leash at all times.

Wish more people would consider the danger to children and other dogs before they let their dogs off leash. We need fewer off leash dogs in MV, not more!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Yeah!!!
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 28, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Thank you city council, you rock! This is great news! Those poor dogs need a nice place to socialize, play, chase squirrels, and run. Especially in the evening when the owners get home from work.

I remember growing up in MV and we had a mail carrier who used to invite our dog to walk around the block on her route every morning. Very cute, the dog loved the mail lady. There were no leash laws back then.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Long Time Neighbor & Dog Owner
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 28, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Dog Owners are Responsible for their pet's behavior.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Whoof!
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 28, 2014 at 2:46 pm

@ ML Mutt and Bad Idea - Glad I'm not your dog.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 28, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Bad idea. Dogs bite, attack, make messes, are unpredictable, and generally annoying. Disaster waiting to happen.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by KaK
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 28, 2014 at 3:13 pm

This is not well thought out. I am a dog lover and I have kids that love dogs, although I do not own a dog. My kids are looking to pet dogs in parks and other places at every opportunity. However, even my kids do get nervous when the dog is over enthusiastic and wants to climb all over them in a show of excess friendliness. To the owner, their dog is just being friendly, but how does the kid know that ? In a panic, my kid ran one time, only to be chased even more by the big dog, until I literally picked up my kid and shooed the dog away. Let me just put it this way: how would you feel if my kid slobbered you with unbridled show of affection ? Gross right ? I feel the same about a dog slobber over me. Sorry.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Should be interesting
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 28, 2014 at 3:17 pm

One day at Bubb Park, I watched a friendly off-leach dog chase another friendly off leash dog around in a spirited romp. They ran through the out-skirts of the playground to the terrified shrieks of the toddlers playing there, then as their owners frantically tried to gain control of the dogs, they knocked down an elderly lady to the pavement. She was thankfully unhurt.

No, I don't see a single liability risk for this decision...not at all.

Be aware, both individual dog owners and the city will be on the hook the very second someone gets injured. The lawyers are circling, get ready for the inevitable.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Should be interesting
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 28, 2014 at 3:24 pm

I should note that the terrified toddlers in the Bubb park playground is something that can be seen almost daily there as dogs tear through the area. Senior citizens being knocked to the ground is more rare from my observations, but I'm not there all the time.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BvP
a resident of another community
on Apr 28, 2014 at 3:26 pm

So Vice Mayor McAlister used to allow his dog off leash when it was not legal to do so? Beautiful. But he's been "studying the issue" for eight years. Tell me professor, what are your findings? Besides that it "works very well".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MV Mom
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 28, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Terrible idea. I've never lived anywhere that had off-leash hours. Too big a liability. And a lot of the times cited in the article are primo times for moms to take their toddlers to the park. My toddler and I are regularly at different parks in the area after breakfast and after dinner (9-10 and 6:30-7). Now we're going to be limited to doing our stroller walks at Rengstorff, which is a pity because we are across the street from Whisman. Boo on the council.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bad Idea
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Apr 28, 2014 at 3:51 pm

I follow City topics fairly closely, and this came out of left field. Where was the transparency and public discussion?

Presumably, the Parks & Rec Commission actually did some research on this...why blow them off entirely? If this is a trial, why does it need to be done in 6 separate locations?

Many small kids walk through Bubb Park on the way to school each morning...that's a terrible location to have free-running (even if happy) dogs...but of course, if this had been vetted publicly, that feedback would've been provided to Council.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Finally
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 28, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Some good news for dogs. People complain that dogs are scary and that dogs are viscous and that they bite. That would explain all of the fatal dog attacks in Mountain View last year. Oh yeah...there were none.

That would explain all of the dog attacks that hospitalized little children for days in Mountain View last year. Oh yeah..there weren't any

But, but, but... when my neighbor's dog comes out, he's all barking and lunging on the leash. He's viscous!

Uh..is he? Or is he just frustrated by the leash?
A dog that can socialize with other dogs off-leash regularly are simply not aggressive.

But, but, but...my kid is so afraid of dogs. We go walk through the park once/week for 15 minutes and now we have to around that park, adding 5 minutes to our trip. That's not fair! Can't we continue to outlaw people from exercising and socializing their dogs 35 hours/week so that we can save 5 minutes?

Oh, how did my kid get so afraid of dogs? Well, I don't know. I never even allowed him near a dog until he was six years old. Oh, maybe I should have socialized my kid with dogs earlier???? Strange, dog licenses are mandatory, but not parent licenses...

But, but, but...why not just go use the shoreline park dog park. It's only a 30 minute drive from downtown mountain view, thanks to all the traffic. Of course, it is a manufactured crushed granite surface with no shade..so what? It's right next to a beautiful park you can walk your dog through--they have shade there! Oh? You can't take dogs inside, even on leash? Why not? Well, they might harass the wildlife. That's odd... I've seen people drop cats off there to go hunt birds... Mountain View sure is kooky!!!

Fine, then go to the new off-leash park that Merlone Grier charitably built for us (in exchange for the demise of Milk Pail). Sure, it's only about 100 feet across and narrow, but when they put in the big screen tv and loudspeakers, you can watch advertisements while seeing your dog enjoy the blistering heat out on that artificial turf! It should only be a 20 minute drive from downtown MV, so that's good...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Silly
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 28, 2014 at 4:53 pm

But, but, but...a reported 4.7 million Americans are injured by dog bites each year, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Not all of those bites are life threatening, as a matter of fact, only 800,000 of those involved seek medical attention for their injuries bites

Of all dog bite incidents recorded every year, two-thirds occur due to dogs running loose, or without a leash.

And that is just reported injuries. Fatalities are rare, bites happen.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Barbara
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 28, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Great idea. There is not enough places in MTV where you can have a dog off the leash, and they have to exercise! Of course, they have to be friendly. I went many times to Fort Funston in SF, where dogs are allowed off the leash. I saw hundreds of dogs and it happened only once that one of the dogs was unfriendly. My dog barks on other dogs only when on a leash. Otherwise, he has his own business to attend. So, please - let me be responsible for my dog.
Yes, dogs bite, bark, etc. Some people too!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lisa
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 28, 2014 at 6:47 pm

I think this is a terrible idea. As an owner of two dogs and a homeowner in Mtn View, I completely disagree with the City Council. My dogs remained leased and under control at all times in public. Despite this, i have had to pick up my dogs and order more aggressive or overly friendly dogs away. I do not wish to have to foot the bill for MtnView's increased liability for dog injuries amd accidents. And now that I have a recently diagnosed physical problem that places me at high risk for falls, have I lost rights to walk my dogs unaccosted or alone whenever I feel well enough to walk in my local parks?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Duke
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 28, 2014 at 7:25 pm

What a horrible decision.
What are they thinking?
Who gets sued when a toddler or frail senior gets mauled by a pit bull or German Shepard?
Or gets sick eating dog excrement? Or run over and injured by an enthusiastic and out of control off leash animal?
Dog owners are supposed to be more responsible than the dogs but…? Not always true. They are often defensive of their dogs behavior whether right or wrong.
Bird dogs chase bird and really can't differentiate between ducks and great blue herons.
I am a fan of McAllster's politics but his animal is often loose in his food business and every public official should be an example of obeying all the laws on the books not just the ones they like.
This is another example of the tail (special interest) wagging the dog (city council)!! Again.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BadKAK
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 28, 2014 at 8:19 pm

"Let me just put it this way: how would you feel if my kid slobbered you with unbridled show of affection ? Gross right ? I feel the same about a dog slobber over me. Sorry."

KAK: So, I presume you keep your kids on a leash at all times then?

...actually come to think of it, I don't remember the last time I was annoyed, bothered, etc. by a dog...but kids on the other hand...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rossta
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 28, 2014 at 9:45 pm

Rossta is a registered user.

This may not make much difference since there have been so many, like the vice mayor, who ignored the law anyhow. I will continue to walk my dog on leash, even in the parks. My dog can outrun me - right into traffic. As reliable as he might be on a recall, that's a chance I won't take. My dog is almost always good with other dogs, but so was a past dog of mine who got attacked twice - once at a dog park (with a dog who "has never done anything like that before") and another time by a dog who got loose from his yard.

I already avoid Cooper park on many of my walks due to the off leash dogs. Those "good dogs" will run all the way across the fields to visit my on-leash dog. So, opening the park to off-leash means closing the park to on-leash dogs who don't want to be harassed.

Lastly, go watch a group of off-leash dogs and owners. The owners have great time socializing, too. Often so much that they don't see their dog doing their business across the field - well that's too far to bother going to cleanup anyhow.

Funny that we had like 3 years of discussion on where to put a dog park, then in one meeting, they just make 6 places into open dog parks. These do not seem to be well considered decisions.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jake
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 28, 2014 at 9:56 pm

I am happy that mountain view is recognizing the needs of dogs to get exercise and play with others. As far as i know the city is allowing dogs to be off-leash in limited areas of a few of mountain view's 30+ parks. It's not even 24 hours a day, but as few as 4 hours/day!!!

isn't sunnyvale doing this also?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Trouble Coming
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 7:13 am

Off leash dogs can cause fights with leashed dogs. Bubb park: I was walking my dog by the toddler's playground on leash and when I looked up I saw a pack of 5 or 6 dogs running at us. My dog bristled and took a defensive posture.
The pack of dogs were obviously curious but when a leashed dog is set upon by a pack of unleashed dogs, they feel restricted and protective. The situation cam to a head with growling and raised hair on their backs. I controlled my dog while the owners of the pack dogs yelled from a distance. With aggressive posturing i was able to exit the situation, but I shudder to think what might have happened if my child was walking our dog.

There is a big problem with this policy and I feel the city and local dog owners are setting themselves up for huge financial burdens because of law suits.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Liability
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 8:54 am

I am worried about lawsuits too. One time I walked through Cuesta park and almost fell down. If I had gotten hurt, my insurance company would have sued Mountain View.

It is best if we closed all the parks and converted them to high density residential/mixed use . Smart Growth is the solution-the city cannot afford lawsuits.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by No need for the dog park now
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 29, 2014 at 9:28 am

If its THAT important that your dog be able to run and play, it would seem simple and responsible to simply take them to the Shoreline DOG PARK!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BadDogs
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 11:51 am

I currently have six cats and they are all outdoor cats. I'm afraid that when my kitties go bird hunting in Cuesta, one of these off-leash dogs might bark at my precious. Please ban all dogs from mountain view .


 +   Like this comment
Posted by First Incident
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Trouble Coming: trouble has arrived. I wish the council took into account exactly what you pointed out because it certainly was an issue for me last night.

I was walking my dog (on leash) and pushing a stroller with my seven-month-old son. As we were walking in Cuesta we came upon two ladies talking to each other that had 5 or 6 smaller and very energetic dogs between them, all off leash. I immediately recognized that my dog noticed them and wasn't sure of them; they, in turn, were very interested and as I tried to steer away, they came running over. My dog's hair immediately raised and he began growling as we were surrounded. The ladies just called to the dogs (from 10 feet away) and not a single one listened. I had to put the brake on the stroller and yank my dog away from the others, lest he bite them in defense (guess whose fault that would have been). Essentially, my dog was being punished because the other dogs weren't behaving. It took a few minutes for the ladies to get control of those dogs and my heart was racing. I'm not saying the dogs were overly vicious, but even a dog lover like myself does not like being circled by a pack of unruly dogs. If your dogs do not IMMEDIATELY come to you when called 100% of the time, you CANNOT have them off-leash in a public, non-enclosed area.

For those saying the dogs need to have time to be off leash and run free, did you take that into account when you got the dog? First and cardinal rule of pet ownership: do not get a pet you cannot properly care for. If you want a dog that needs to run around off leash and you don't have an area to legally do that, do NOT get the dog.

For those saying this is perfectly fine because there weren't any actual biting attacks: please remember that you don't need to be bit to have a negative experience (sadly, I'm sure plenty of lawyers agree). If you want kids to realize you don't need to be scared of all dogs (good lesson!) keep in mind all it takes is one of those negative experiences where they feel threatened to undo any good other dogs may have created. Not all dogs who are off leash are bad, but it only takes one irresponsible owner to ruin it for everyone.

As to the council: when the lawsuits come (and they inevitably will), I bet the $40,000 for a fenced-in park won't seem all that expensive anymore.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by KudosMV
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 29, 2014 at 1:30 pm

It seems that people are expecting absolute perfect behavior from dogs 100% of the time and the sky will fall otherwise.

A dog that is *always* constrained by leashes and walls will never have the opportunity to learn how to politely interact with other dogs and people. Of course, if the dog accidentally gets away from the owner, then of course anything can happen...it will be their first experience! By having regular off-leash opportunities, the dogs will be happier and learn the social skills needed. (No opportunity to make a mistake = no opportunity to learn!)

The council is making a very wise choice by doing a 1 year pilot. Limited times in a few parks. If real problems occur, then they can be addressed. However, since this has been going on for decades at various parks & schools during these hours, it is unlikely to be a problem. Also, Sunnyvale vetted this out extensively and are moving ahead with it, so I'm sure there will be knowledge sharing.

Kudos to the MV Council and our Parks Dept!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MV Mom
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 29, 2014 at 2:30 pm

I'm not opposed to dogs being off leash. I am opposed to them being off leash in parks at designated hours. I'd much rather have dedicated dog parks than dedicated dog hours at many parks.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Self Protector
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 29, 2014 at 2:54 pm

I've been intimidated too many times by certain aggressive dogs in the park by my house. I used to be able to call the police, but now pepper spray and/or my tazer will always be with me. No biggie. Its on now.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Self Protector
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 29, 2014 at 3:03 pm

If tazers and pepper spray are not your cup of tea, A nice stout club will can also help if needed to defend against an aggressive dog. Don't hold back, really let them have it, and aim for the snout if you can, its much more sensitive.

We actually should place signs with what to do if confronted by an aggressive dog, similar to the warning signs about cougars at all the local trail heads in the open space district. It would be informative and might prevent a tragedy.
Times in our parks have changed, we need to know how to keep ourselves and our children safe.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by JeffK
a resident of Gemello
on Apr 29, 2014 at 3:14 pm

thanks mountain view for giving us dog owners some of our freedom back!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Really?
a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Oh JeffK, you poor poor victim. The city spent OUR money making a dog park JUST FOR DOGS and it has been there for you to use every day for DECADES.
Do you need directions?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by JeffK
a resident of Gemello
on Apr 29, 2014 at 3:36 pm

that place is disgusting, like standing in a kitty litter box. its barely even in mv. what is your problem?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sad
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Oh good. So when I get chased by an off leash dog, I should be grateful the dog is getting an opportunity to learn? Fantastic. Nevermind that might scare the you-know-what outta me. The DOG needed to learn. (Too bad there aren't some sort of classes or enclosed areas to test obedience first...) And if some dog runs off and meets an enthusiastic child then bites him out of anxiety, you'll console the parent by brightly telling them "it's their first experience!" Let me know how that works out for you.

I'm not saying the sky will fall without dogs behaving 100% of the time, and I know not all dogs are ill-behaved, but if owners of those unruly dogs remain delusional and keep bringing the dogs back for these "lessons" at the expense of the city's human residents, it won't end well.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Danger!
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 3:58 pm

A car hit another car last week on a mtn view road causing THOUSANDS of dollars in damage . We need to close all roads to cars because of this great liability!!!

Oh, will that impinge on people's liberties?

Guess what... Tens of Thousands of dog owners in mountain view pay for these parks too so it makes sense to at least TRY it out rather than guessing what MIGHT happen.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by @Danger
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 4:55 pm

To continue your analogy of car drivers getting in an accident:

-car drivers are required to carry insurance
-car drivers are required to have their license and proof of insurance while driving

There are too many instances of off-leash dogs behaving badly with their owners refusing to take responsibility. Require the owners to be have training licenses and carry insurance. Until then, keep the dogs leashed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Danger!
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Dog licensing is mandatory in mtn view so vaccinations are taken care of. There haven't been any problems with bites and liability, so will be ok there.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greg
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 5:48 pm


30 pound children are often afraid of 60 or 90 pound dogs.

If you think about it, quite a few adults are also afraid when they see a carnivore twice their mass and ten times their speed.

In any case, it is not your place to tell my child what they should and should not be afraid of. The playground is a space for children, and many children are afraid of dogs, including your dog.

Please keep your dog away from play areas.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MV Parks Going to the Dogs
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 5:59 pm

It would be difficult for the council (and John McAlister's personal study of observation) to account for all the negative impact that has happened to MV residents due to dogs off leash. My friend's dog was injured badly by a dog that was off leash at Cuesta last year and the vet bills were excessive - not to mention the stress and panic my friend experienced and the pain her dog felt. The owner of the dog off leash took off as fast as possible with her dog after the incident. I'm sure there are other events that have happened like this - it just doesn't get reported to anyone.

The council should have remembered, and learned from, the backlash resulting from the council's decision last year about cat licensing. The council should have given residents lots of public notice that this decision was going to be voted on and give them ample time to show up to meetings and let their voice be heard.

Thank goodness not all the council members are nit wits - at least Clark and Bryant tried to think of reasons it might not work. Kudos to Bryant for acknowledging that while dog owners love their dogs, not everyone else does. (McAlister, take note.)

While someone mentioned that dog licensing and vaccinations are mandatory in MV, it does not mean that ALL dog owners are responsible and get it done. I think McAlister has adequately demonstrated that some dog owners don't obey the law.

My son is afraid of dogs due to a bad experience he had with one. Whenever we see a dog off leash in the parks, we have to go the other way. ( We can't enjoy the parks we pay our taxes towards - the dogs don't pay the taxes. I am all for fenced in dog parks so they have designated freedom. ) I wonder how many other residents experience this too - did McAlister collect that info? It is sad that he participated in illegal activity with his dog for 8 years in MV (along with others) and feels it was okay. This will just encourage other residents who read this to feel okay about taking their dogs off leash and not worry about the silly details of which park they are at what time...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by GoodDad
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 29, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Neither of my two children are afraid of dogs because rather than keeping them locked away watching tv, we took the time and effort to give them a broad experience including dogs.

It sounds like there are some parents that have failed in their duties in raising their kids properly.Rather than punishing responsible pet owners, maybe we should focus on these damages, phobic kids? It's unfortunate there isn't mandatory kid licensing that would ensure parents would receive regular training.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by havadane - OR
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 30, 2014 at 6:17 am

I lived in MV for 20+ years and dreamed of a place for my dogs, Great Danes, to stretch their legs and run. I think these spaces are GREAT, but they HAVE to be fenced. I had one of my girls (on leash) get attacked by an off-leash dog that ran across the green area of Slater Park, to the child play area, straight at my dog while it's owner yelled for the dog to come back to her...my girl lost her tail because of it. This new "experiment" poses a threat to people who know that their dog may not be good off-leash, so responsibly walk their dog on-leash and then have to worry about off-leash dogs approaching while NOT listening to their owners. I realize many dogs are well controlled...but many, MANY are not! Keep the proposed, wonderful areas for dogs run...but put a fence around them!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sad
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Apr 30, 2014 at 6:46 am

Mountain View, CA, where children are afraid to go to the parks.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sad
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Apr 30, 2014 at 6:53 am

Where do we file complaints about aggressive dog behavior? Do we call the police? Animal control?
Who will respond in time before the owner leaves the area? We need to record these instances so the council has more info that just one guy who did his own study.

One comment above mentions the dog park in Shoreline being like a litter box. That's because dog owners do not pick p the poop. They ruined their space, now its time for them to ruin your children's space.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BvP
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2014 at 8:17 am

"Neither of my two children are afraid of dogs because rather than keeping them locked away watching tv, we took the time and effort to give them a broad experience including dogs.

It sounds like there are some parents that have failed in their duties in raising their kids properly."

Congrats, dumbest comment so far.

Quite a few excellent posts from other dog owners though, those that care about the concerns of their fellow residents. I'd be all for creating 1 or 2 new parks for dogs, and I mean quality parks so the dogs actually have a nice place to run around, play and learn without doing it at the expense of others. BTW, I've been bitten twice, once as a child and once as an adult. No provocation either time. In fact, no interaction attempted at all. Despite that, I still like dogs and don't fear them. But that does not mean everyone should feel that way.

Respect your neighbors.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fences make good neighbors
a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 30, 2014 at 10:01 am

To encourage people to bring their dogs into MV parks and let them run free in unfenced areas set directly next to children's playgrounds is so misguided and un-thought-thru I'm speechless.
I like the idea of dog area in our parks, but there must be fencing to keep them from taking over the park, that's glaringly obvious from the above comments. Jeeze, I mean come on!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 30, 2014 at 12:58 pm

"a group of residents said they haven't had any conflicts or issues with letting their dogs off-leash"

And the foxes said they haven't had any conflicts or issues with the chickens.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Entitlist
a resident of Bailey Park
on Apr 30, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Good one Steve. Its like asking cyclists if they have any issues running red lights. If they say "No" then lets make that legal too. Everyone is already doing it and there have been no issues that I've read about here in town.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2014 at 6:50 pm

-car drivers are required to carry insurance
-car drivers are required to have their license and proof of insurance while driving

That's a laugh. Guess what some of the drivers in Mt View don't even have a license. Like the one who totaled my friend's car. No license, no insurance, and no way to communicate. Not to mention this unlicensed driver had a toddler in the car.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Scott
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 1, 2014 at 1:33 am

This is great ! Most communities allow off leash dogs in normal human parks. Hopefully the test goes well and the hours and locations will expand.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bring a weapon
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2014 at 6:02 am

I do not believe Los Altos, Palo Alto, Menlo Park or East Palo Alto allow dogs to run un-leashed in their parks. Though Sunnyvale might also be looking at this off leash experiment, get ready for the flood of dogs being brought in to Mountain View parks from surrounding cities.

Remember one of the main reasons cannabis clubs were shut out of MV? It would attract too many from other cities w/out a dispensary.
The same logic will play out here. Can't wait until the EPA boys show up with their pit bulls. Careful what you wish for.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Scott
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 1, 2014 at 9:05 am

In the last 1/2 century of living, I have never been bitten by a dog, even though many of the communities I have lived in tolerates off-leash dogs.

My childhood friend was bitten by a dog that had never been offleash before. It got out of the yard and went after my buddy. A nip right on the arm. No blood drawn but scary. What does this mean? I think it means that dogs that are locked away from society are more likely to cause harm than dogs that have off leash time.

That is my experience. I spoke to friends and family about theirs and it was very similar. I met some people in mv that socialize their dogs in some parks in the evening and there never has been a problem.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Realism
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 1, 2014 at 11:33 am

Scott, read all the problems stated above then tell us there has never been a problem. The fact is that MANY MANY have issues, but are very hesitant to report their neighbors. I hear it almost every time I'm at the playground and some dogs go tearing through it while the children shriek in terror.
Nobody wants to be the angry neighbor that turns in the scofflaws, even though they deserve to be turned in.
If they say that issues never happen, please introduce me and I will call them a liar to their face and show the video evidence.

Its an issue that goes well beyond just biting and needs more thought than anecdotal observations and asking the people with off leash dogs if they have seen any issues.

The mothers at the playground are already having discussions over how they can protect their kids.
The bare minimum safety guard would be a fence. As long as the dog area is enclosed, I would be OK with it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Scott
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 1, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Realism I looked at all the postings and it looks like most of the "problems above" come from one anonymous user.

All I am saying is that in I and my acquaintances and friends, there has never been an issue. Of course, if you or others are dog-phobic, then I'm very sorry about that. Maybe consult with a mental health professional.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Scott
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 1, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Realism I looked at all the postings and it looks like most of the "problems above" come from one anonymous user.

All I am saying is that in I and my acquaintances and friends, there has never been an issue. Of course, if you or others are dog-phobic, then I'm very sorry about that. Maybe consult with a mental health professional.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Realism
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 1, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Actually, I own 2 dogs but never felt entitled enough to dis-regard laws because _my_ dog need to run free. Re: mental health assistance, they can help with selfish entitlement as well.
I wonder what other laws the dog people feel its OK to break? Clearly they have no respect for the law unless they agree with it. if they don't agree, they'll break the law...and what a great path that is to be on.
Talk to the moms if you have the guts. Sounds like you're not after the full truth though.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Funny Stuff
a resident of Bailey Park
on May 1, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Its laughable to me that rules needed to be established regarding times dogsd are allowed off leash. The dog owners had no issue breaking the leash law so why even bother trying to restrict them with time frames? They're just going to do what they want.
I say:
1) Let the dogs run free in the parks anytime, because dog owners are not law abiding anyway, why reastrict them with attempted laws? They'll just ignore it. They have an admitted history of this behavior. (Great lessons to their kids that only laws you agree with should be followed)

2) let bike riders run red lights. Its a complete waste of time to try and get them to obey the law, so please ditch it. There have been no issues reported so it should be fine.

3)Get a pot dispensary in town. This lawless dog and bike area will attract many from out of town anyway, which was a major worry about having a dispensary in town. The home delivery pot business is booming in MV, but we get no tax revenues since they are based out of town.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Scott
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 1, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Realism I looked at all the postings and it looks like most of the "problems above" come from one anonymous user which I'm sure you are aware of...

All I am saying is that among myself and my acquaintances and friends, there has never been an issue. Of course, if you or others are dog-phobic, then I'm very sorry about that. Maybe consult with a mental health professional.

You also talk about not wanting to turn your neighbors in, yet you do this cowardly thing of spamming this forum anonymously.

Regardless of the "testimony" above, let's just see how the test comes out.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bad Idea
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 1, 2014 at 2:52 pm

If there were an organized way to channel opposition, I could see a modification being made to this. Throughout MV, there are a large number of people who range from shocked to irate about this. And as mentioned earlier, this had minimal (if any?) public vetting...that alone should give council cause to reconsider.

Having a "test" in 6 separate areas is complete overkill, particularly when neighboring cities (and MV) don't even have 1 off-leash area.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Realism
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 1, 2014 at 2:58 pm

[Post removed. Please do not attack other posters.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Realism
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 1, 2014 at 3:07 pm

They don't even want to fence in the area dogs run in. Terrible idea with no public input. It would be great to have designated FENCED areas in all our parks for dogs.

Of course there would be some entitlist who feels their dog needs special non fenced space.
That person irresponsibly bought the wrong dog for this area, knowing it was illegal to run it off-leash in MV. "No problem, I'll just ignore the law."

Its like buying a vehicle you can't legally drive on the road, then driving it on the road anyway because it needs to rev free at least once a day for its engine's health.

An organized opposition is in fact in the works and will be armed with video evidence so the dog people cannot lie about the lack of issues.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lawbreak
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 1, 2014 at 3:15 pm

I saw "realism" drive 26mph in a 25mph zone so we need large heavy steel safety barriers between the sidewalk and the streets to protect us against lawbreakers like him .

Oh... That's not reasonable is it...sound familiar? That's what you sound like.

Off leash dogs are a reality in mtn view and all "neighboring cities", yet there have been no news of any disasters. Interesting.

There have been plenty of car accidents, many which result in serious injury and some with death! Yet, somehow, in your mind, you think that dogs off leash in limited areas in limited parks at limited times will be equally disastrous. You realize how insane that sounds?

No, I will not meet with you. I would be afraid for my personal safety. Please, if someone knows this individual, call a social worker and see if they can help evaluate his stability. Especially with childeren involved...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Watching
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 1, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Some people, when lacking in the ability to make a valid argument, chose to insult.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pause
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 2, 2014 at 8:08 am

Too true, Watching. Too true. What's been lost in all this back and forth is no one on either side seems to dispute the benefits for an *enclosed* dog park so that the dogs can be off leash and those who don't want to be around off leash dogs don't have to be. In fact, both sides seem to fully support this. Perhaps we could redirect our energies from insults (like attacking parenting skills and suggesting assistance for mental health) and focus instead on the council. Push them to find the funds to get these enclosed parks. Search the budget, find corporate sponsors, do fundraisers (I know I'd be there!), negotiate a lower estimate (would it cost less if owners brought bottles/bowls of water and a spigot wasn't needed in the area?) but do SOMETHING. This is way too divisive and one-sided to be considered an adequate solution.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Idea
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 2, 2014 at 9:15 am

What about a neighborhood dog park "Custodian" volunteer program? I imagine there are regulars during certain times who might be happy to take a more ownership role of it.

The city could install some permanent post holes in the grass and the custodian would be in charge of erecting some sort of easily set up fencing. I'm imagining an easily handled lightweight and minimal fence, but something that would act as a dividing line and a mental reminder to the dogs not to stray past the fence.

Set up and take down would be the role of the custodian who would also be point of contact for any issues reported(left over poop and such). I think that could work well.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Idea
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 2, 2014 at 9:17 am

oh, and each park would have its own custodian volunteer(s), not one for the whole program.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jackie
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 2, 2014 at 2:53 pm

What a silly discussion! I have spent much of my life in Europe and dogs are off-leash almost everywhere. When I moved to Mountain Vw I was told how advanced and creative it was but what I see is something different.

Let us hope that this city will catch up to the 20th century (21st may be too difficult!) and relax so many of these unnecessary regulations.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Faux Eurosnob
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 2, 2014 at 3:09 pm

What is truly silly is all these fake Euros telling us how we are uptight, backward and unsophisticated. I've heard this my entire life. Europe doesn't set the standard. Get over yourselves.

BTW, I was born and raised (more or less) in Europe, spent a few years in Asia as well. Mountain View is years ahead of most of Europe and darn near all of Asia.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Thank You!
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 7, 2014 at 5:52 pm

Thank you for allowing my dog (and other dogs) time to run. Most of the dog owners I have met in Mountain View have rescued their dog from a sad fate. I understand that others are scared of and do not like dogs because I used to be one of them. This is why it is nice that the off-leash time is limited to certain parks and certain times. Mercy-Bush park does not allow off leash dogs at any time, and is a great place to take children to play.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by 4 Year old's bare feet
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 9, 2014 at 10:20 am

Gentle reminder to my neighbors: The poop goes into a trash can or it goes home with the dog owner. Please don't leave it on the grass!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike Johnson
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 25, 2014 at 4:01 pm

I am all for more fenced off leash dog areas within our existing park.The fact that the cost#'s shown are simply ridiculous 40grand for posts and chain link fence and labor? you cant possibly serious. so many of the parks now designated as having off leash areas are bad choices with far to much interaction possibilities with small children as most are next to a play ground..I myself am a dog owner and will often let my dog offleash at many different parks when i feel confident of it. lets be realistic with the costs and quit hiring some design firm or contractor to build these areas.I personally have done some pricing for materials.. and they are nowhere near the 30 to 40 grand claimed. I have lived in mv for 43 of my 47 yr's and i am always shocked by the way the city wastes money by not using our own city employees/parks dept.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Early Decision Blues
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 2,134 views

One night only: ‘Occupy the Farm’ screening in Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 1 comment | 2,038 views

Death with Dignity
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 1,269 views

With a Perspective....
By Ms. Jenson | 0 comments | 444 views

10 Tried and True Ways to Increase Happiness
By Caroline Fleck | 1 comment | 400 views