Dubuque is an amazing place to live and play. It is quickly becoming a tourist destination, and aspires to be one of the top places to live and work in the U.S.
But one restriction prevents Dubuque from being #1. It's that we are banned from enjoying our favorite parks and trails with our canine companions.
This ordinance was passed more than four decades ago for unknown reasons, and Dubuque is the only major city in Iowa that outlaws dogs in their city parks.
We believe it's time to repeal the antiquated law. Families should be able to walk their leashed, licensed dogs in all of Dubuque's 50+ parks without feeling like criminals.
Owners who pay local taxes and dog licensing fees, especially, should get to enjoy the beauty of all parks with their pets.
People considering a move to Dubuque often look at what amenities are available for their pets. Dubuque does a great job of welcoming newcomers, and that should include the family dog.
Tourists should also be encouraged to experience our one-of-a-kind parks with their canine friends, especially with the recent announcement that DockDogs will hold their World Championships in downtown Dubuque for the next three years. After flying in from around the globe, do we really want to greet them with "NO PETS ALLOWED" signs in the one place they expect to be able to walk their athletes?
It's clear that dogs are becoming a major part of not only our culture, but our economy. Local veterinarians, trainers, groomers, and pet stores would agree.
It is for these reasons and more, that we respectfully ask that the Dubuque City Council amend ordinance 10-5B-4, part B, to allow dogs in all city parks, and make a step toward being a more dog-friendly community.
If the State and National Park Systems, as well as bigger Iowa cities like Cedar Rapids and Des Moines can handle having dogs in parks, we know Dubuque can, too. With the city's inclusion of dog owners, and effort and commitment from those owners to be responsible, Dubuque can be one step closer to the #1 city it aspires to be.