Letters to the Editor

Viewpoint: Clean up Laguna’s dog park

As a frequenter of the dog park at Laguna Lake Park, I would like to lodge a concern that bothers me as a dog owner and also as a physician.

The city is completing a lovely new “rest facility” at the park, with thick green sod planted around the perimeter. The part of the park in which the dogs play is covered in nothing but gravel and sand. The two fountains for obtaining water for the dogs to drink are situated on relatively high ground with no provision for drainage, and thus are perpetually surrounded by pools and puddles of mud and rancid water that I strongly suspect are seriously contaminated with organisms of a wide variety. Many of these organisms, bacterial and otherwise, are likely infectious and dangerous both to the dogs and their owners.

These puddles are stagnant and odiferous and an enticement to some dogs who unfortunately love to roll, play, urinate and defecate in these wet areas, as well as to drink from them. They carry the content of these pools of putrid waste home with them and spread them around their owners and others, including children. Clearly this is a serious public health hazard.

In addition, there has been no effort made to provide appropriate ground cover in the play area. When the rains come, the entire dog park will be a disgraceful and disgusting “field of other-than-dreams.”

Calls to the Parks Department and the City Engineer’s Office regarding these problems have resulted in platitudes, but absolutely no attempts to correct these potentially dangerous situations. If sod can be planted around the toilet facilities, why not the areas where the dogs and people frequent?

My concerns and the concerns of most of the other dog owners and taxpayers about the contaminated watering areas as a result of the lack of any drainage, should be of immediate interest to our health department and corrective measures directly implemented.

The dog park is an established area at this point and the city, through the Parks Department and the Public Health Department, should see to the implementation of necessary corrective actions without further delay.

Dr. Norman S. White is a retired physician living in San Luis Obispo.