Dog crackdown will empty Pastorius

Why do the powers in Chestnut Hill suddenly hate happiness? I moved to the city because I love all the additional perks that come from living here: being in walking distance to useful stores and nice restaurants, public transportation; close neighbors you actually get to know, but there is one downside that comes to living in the city: smaller yards.

This has never been a problem for me before because Chestnut Hill has ample parks with the added benefit that someone else has already mowed the lawn! But apparently my kind is no longer welcome at Pastorius Park. What is “my kind”? A dog owner.

For the last month the police have been driving up onto the park’s grass, bullhorns and ticket books in hand, to essentially tell all the dog owners that their kind isn’t welcome here anymore. I’m sure everyone’s happy when the park is completely cleared out and no one is there.

Just today they cleared us all out, and I’m sure the supporters of this idea think, “Good, now the regular people can enjoy the park!” Sorry, no, those “regular people” were there with their kids to watch the dogs, and when the police came, they left with us; their day was ruined too.

The canned response is that there are “dangerous dogs” in the park biting people and dogs. Let’s break that down. Do you notice how the dogs are always pit bulls? I can tell you about the “dangerous urban youth” in Strawberry Mansion ready to knife you too.

See the pattern? See the dangerous stereotypes? About two weeks ago I was walking down a quiet street in the neighborhood and a dog lunged off a front porch and went after my dog. What are we supposed to ban in this situation? Front porches? Sidewalks? Walking around?

The issue is not all the dogs in Pastorius Park, nor is it pitbulls. It is the one or two dangerous dogs whose owners should know better, but they are a problem no matter where they are. Do we ban all the kids from the playground because one pinches? It’s rather missing the point.

Yes there needs to be something done about dogs that attack, but that needs to be done on a larger scale, not by punishing people who like making their dog’s day by letting them run loose for once.

To the people who say, “But because of the dogs I don’t go to Pastorius.” I say, “Good.” If I hated kids I wouldn’t go to a playground. If you ask, “But where will I take my kids?” If they like dogs, take them to Pastorius. Otherwise take them to the Jenks grounds, the Water Tower, or all the other parks in Chestnut Hill. People are allowed everywhere; dogs just have Pastorius.

Meredith Markham
Travis Gold
Chestnut Hill

Center for Enrichment will be missed

Although I understand the reasons, it is with sadness that I read of the closing of the Chestnut Hill Center for Enrichment (formerly known as the Senior Center). During the last 25 years of her life, my mother Jane Strasbaugh lived in Chestnut Hill and thoroughly enjoyed the crafts and other programs sponsored by the center. It was a good way for her to become connected with our community.

It should also be mentioned that the Center’s programs have also benefitted people that were neither retired nor technically seniors but whose social interactions were limited by other circumstances. My late, disabled high school classmate Charleen Rutschky was one of these people. I know that she too welcomed the Center as a place where she could display her creative skills and escape from an otherwise bleak and isolated existence. Unfortunately, the retirement-focused organizations mentioned in your article will not be viable alternatives for these adults.

In any case, I would like to thank Mary Zell for the fine work she has done as the center’s executive director over many years.

Wayne R. Strasbaugh
Chestnut Hill

  • robert the bruce

    Meredith Markham, I am a dog owner who lives a couple of blocks from Pastorious. We used to take our dog there but after a couple of incidents we stopped. Our leashed dog was seriously injured by an off leash dog. I, for one, would really like to see a fenced area for off leash dogs.

  • Dog owner

    Meredith, once your dog starts paying taxes perhaps then you can make a stronger argument. People > dogs, especially when they foot the bill for maintaining the park.