Support the Park!
Pick up the Poop and Don't Pollute!
It's unpleasant, it's squishy ... but it takes just a few seconds to do the right thing and clean up the poop! City of Richmond held a campaign in October 2012 to encourage pet owners to pick up and dispose of their dogs' waste, and the Friends are huge supporters of this campaign. To further the effort, park visitors will see signs advising owners to pick up pet waste and in many locations they will find bag stations available.
Not yet convinced it's worth the time and effort? Here are a few good reasons to pick up after Fido:
- It's the law -- by ordinance a pet owner can be fined $250 for not removing waste from public and private property.
- According to the city, an average sized dropping of dog waste can cause over three billion coliform bacteria that can come in the form of Salmonella.
- When dog waste and runoff ends up in the James River, it ends up in our drinking water. Our drinking water comes from the James River!
- Parkways that are free of pet waste make for a more pleasant experience for all visitors.
Please help us keep the James River Park System and our James River clean. Pick up the poop and don't pollute!
Dog Forum Held
Spearheaded by FoJRP Board Member Molly Dellinger-Wray, a forum for FOJRP members regarding dogs in James River Park System was held on July 9, 2013.
Greg Brittingham from VCU's Performance Management Group facilitated the forum, which was attended by 30 members. FoJRP members in attendance agreed on the following:
Five Guiding Values of Dogs in the James River Park System
- Park should be safe for people, dogs and wildlife.
- Park visitors (humans and dogs) should have a positive experience in the park.
- Park visitors should demonstrate environmental stewardship.
- Park procedures that have worked in the past should inform future practice.
- Park visitors should respect one another's preferences.
Next steps are for Nathan Burrell, JRPS Superintendent to meet with other city officials in the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Director of Richmond Animal Care and Control. These individuals will discuss enhanced enforcement of canine management ordinances. Remember, IT IS THE LAW to keep your dog(s) leashed at all times and to immediately remove dog droppings.
Visitors' Survey of Canine Management Issues and Regulations
Students from the VCU Psychology Department course, "Experimental Methods," conducted a boots-on-the-ground (and students-in-the-Parks) survey in the JRPS. Between May 25 and June 27, 2013 VCU undergraduates personally interviewed 547 JRPS visitors at Belle Isle and the Pony Pasture entrances, and the Landria Drive entrance to the Wetlands. The vast majority of JRPS visitors (69%) have seen dogs running off-leash in the JRPS.
Despite this, most JRPS visitors (64%) stated that off-leash dogs did not impact their JRPS visit. Looking more closely at the data, about 18% of visitors said that off-leash dogs either added to or detracted from, their JRPS visits. Hmmmm. We're still trying to figure out that one! Read the complete Summer 2013 Dog Survey. (PDF, 1.1 MB)
So, as you might expect, the powers-that-be will put their heads together and try to hash all this out.
We do know that people who believe off-leash dogs are problematic are concerned for their safety, for the safety of children, and about the 'packages' that dogs leave behind. Cyclists and runners, in particular, believe that off-leash dogs get in the way of their sport.
People who think off-leash dogs are a plus tend to enjoy seeing dogs (perhaps their own) swim and run, or play, and believe that dogs make the JRPS more of a family-oriented environment. So, once again: sit and stay. More to come!