Denver has made great strides in becoming one of the US’s best cities for quality of life. One area where we fall significantly behind, however, is in overly restrictive leash laws. Although many off-leash areas have been added in the past several years, they don’t go far enough to accomplish the City’s objctives for several reasons:
1) There are large parts of the city that do not have any of these off-leash areas nearby (for example, the south/central part of Denver), requiring that citizens must actually drive several miles to reach them, often to other municipalities.
2) The off-leash areas that do exist are small, crowded, and literally just large dirt lots.
3) These off-leash areas cost resources to acquire, develop and maintain, adding financial burden to an already tight City budget.
What we do have, however, are great existing parks that are lightly used during late evening and early morning hours. We don’t need to spend money to add new off-leash areas – let’s better utilize the fantastic space we already have!
Other cities, most notably New York, have managed to allow off-leash access in unenclosed parts of its major parks from 9pm to 9am. If New York can do it successfully, certainly Denver can mange to do it as well. Come on, Denver, let’s demonstrate that we do indeed have a city with a high quality of life for all of its citizens!
A few links pointing to success in other cities:
Boise: http://www.ktvb.com/news/Parks-and-Rec-Director-Off-leash-program-a-success-191552431.html (they credit the program for reducing the goose population!)