Los Gatos Weekly Times/Judy Peterson, 3/26/12. "Parks for sports, dogs top discussion items at town council meeting."
|"Yo tengo dos perros, no gatos!"|
"From dogs to sports, it was all about parks when the Los Gatos Town Council met on March 19. The council awarded the contract for construction of the Creekside Sports Park, 930 University Ave., to Interstate Grading and Paving of South San Francisco. The contract is for $1,975,497. The park will have one large field that will accommodate multiple sports, including soccer and lacrosse.
Construction will begin next month, with the sports park expected to be ready for action by October. Even sooner than that the town expects to have a pilot program in place that would allow dogs to run off-leash in some parks during certain times of the day. Where and when the off-leash activities would be allowed remains to be seen, but Bachman, Live Oak and La Rinconada parks are at the top of the list.
Several dozen residents who attended the meeting support letting dogs run free, including Bachman Park neighbor Macey Kalin, who has a young child, another on the way and a dog that she says is difficult to walk given her circumstances. "The group of us that meets down there is really responsible," Kalin said. "I think it's great for the dogs and the community."
Vice Mayor Barbara Spector, who owns a dog, pointed out that people who let their dogs run off-leash today are violating the law. "That makes it uncomfortable for those people who have to enforce the law," Spector said. She pointed to San Carlos as a city that has dealt with the same issue. "San Carlos had the exact same situation we do," Spector said. "They were ticketing their residents. Their residents were breaking the law, and so San Carlos has a pilot program that is up and running, and so far it is successful." But there are many issues that need to be resolved before a pilot program can be started in Los Gatos, including determining who's liable if an off-leash dog attacks another dog or a person.same issue.
"I would like to have a little attention placed on licensing or permitting," Bachman Park neighbor Beth Jendricks said. "I do see a potential issue that, if it isn't controlled in some way, we'll have a lot of people coming into a small park. I'd be concerned if people are getting in their cars and driving in from other cities." Licensing and other issues are expected to be worked out in a series of community meetings that will be held beginning next month. Councilman Joe Pirzynski said he wants all the controversies vetted before a detailed plan is brought back to the council in June. "The folks who use the parks who are not dog owners may have something to say," Pirzynski said. "We're going to have to look very carefully at how restrictive we think we can be."
Pirzynski, who is a dog owner, was bitten by an out-of-control dog at a Music in the Park concert last summer. Councilwoman Diane McNutt's dog was slightly injured in an attack last year at the off-leash dog park in Campbell. Los Gatos helped pay for that park since there are no off-leash parks in town. And just a few weeks ago Live Oak Manor resident Michelle Busi said her husband and French bulldog were attacked by a pit bull when its owner lost control of it. "It's every dog owner's nightmare," Busi said. Fortunately, there were no injuries. Off-leash supporter Jonathan Knowles summed up the situation by saying, "People are doing it now, and they're going to continue to do it. So let's put some rules around it and act responsibly."
Posted by Kathy Meeh