Dubuque Dogs in the Park


Diva recently accompanied me and my kids to the top of Rocky Mountain National Park. We had a nice day enjoying the views and spending time together.

As a frequently traveler I have had opportunity to visit some amazing places, and as a dog lover my companions have generally been with me. We have visited the water front and Grant Park in Chicago, been to Niagara Falls, strolled through Golden Gate Park, visited the Grand Canyon and meandered through Central Park together. Those trips were all memorable but even more so because I got to share them with my dogs.

Here in Dubuque, Iowa a group of like minded individuals has spearheaded an effort to repeal a long standing ban on dogs in our city parks. Our goal is to be allowed to walk our dogs on leash through our city parks. It seems like a simple request and to the outsider observer the thought that dogs aren’t allowed in city parks often seems absurd. But it hasn’t been that simple. And some have suggested we are in for a challenge in creating the change. While I understand the non-dog lover’s concerns of disruptive dogs or people who don’t clean up after their animal, I don’t think it is a valid reason to keep the current ban in place. Nor do I feel it is a valid reason to limit which parks we can walk in (as has been suggested by some who wish to keep our most picturesque parks dog free).

My reasoning for not supporting the limitations is fairly simple and based on my experience…as a general rule it is not the irresponsible dog owner who even bothers to take his canine with him on outings. The irresponsible owners don’t walk their dog, quiet the barking, pick up their own yards, or keep them licensed. These things won’t change. These people are not going to load up en mass and run off to visit the newly opened dog friendly spaces. It is people like myself, who take accountability that are being punished for infractions that we haven’t committed. I simply do not believe rules must always be written to accommodate the lowest common denominator. I believe we can do better than that and if someone doesn’t lead, there is no path to follow.

If it works to allow dogs in Rocky Mountain National Park, I have reason to believe the Dubuque Parks can handle their presence as well.

The next public hearing on the issue is Tuesday July 10th at 4:30 pm at the Federal Building which is across from Washington Park 🙂