Dubuque is an amazing place to live and play. It has become 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 with our canine companions.
This ordinance was passed 45 years ago for unknown reasons, and Dubuque is the only major city in Iowa that outlaws dogs in their parks.
We believe it's time to repeal the antiquated law so that families can walk their leashed, licensed dogs in Dubuque's 50+ parks and recreation areas without feeling like criminals.
Owners who pay local taxes and dog licensing fees, especially, would appreciate the freedom to enjoy the beauty of the 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 who are encouraged to visit our one-of-a-kind parks shouldn't be forced to decide between visiting those parks and leaving their dog in the hotel room, or staying in the hotel with their pet. This is especially true for Eagle Point Park, where they are currently asked to leave their dog in the car for the duration of the visit (regardless of temperature).
From an economic standpoint, it's estimated that owners will spend nearly $60 Billion on their pets in 2014. This, along with the many pet-related businesses in Dubuque, make it clear that pets have not only become a major part of our families, but a big part of our local economy, as well.
If the State and National Park Systems can handle having dogs in their parks, along with Iowa's other largest cities, we know Dubuque can, too.
It is for these reasons and more, that we respectfully ask that the Dubuque City Council amend the current ordinance to allow dogs in city parks, and take a step toward being a more dog-friendly community.
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.