We are hoping to change the norm of treating Pastorius Park as an off-leash dog park, which it is not.
In an incident on Wed., May 4, 2022, an unleashed dog jumped onto our child’s back and knocked him, a child of a year-and-a-half, into the pond at Pastorius Park. The dog was out of control, out of reach of its owner, and off-leash. Due to the fall, our child sustained injuries on his face and forehead, and was face-down in brackish water until we could jump in to pull him out. We are thankful that the pond was drained at that time and shudder to think about what could have happened otherwise.
In outlining our experiences in this letter to the editor, we are hoping to change the norm of treating Pastorius Park as an off-leash dog park, which it is not. One of us grew up in Chestnut Hill, while the other fell in love with the neighborhood as a cross-coastal transplant, so we know that this has been a long-standing tradition. We chose to grow our family in Chestnut Hill because of resources like Pastorius, and we do not want to sacrifice the use of one of our community’s most beloved greenspaces out of fear of keeping our child safe. In recent years the demographics of this community have shifted to include more young families, and what the community needs out of the park must change to reflect that.
Many users of Pastorius Park who remain silent rather than seem unneighborly will rejoice in seeing dogs in the park on leashes. We implore all who frequent Pastorius Park to give a courteous reminder whenever they see a dog off-leash in order to create a culture of leashed dogs in Pastorius Park that engenders the spirit of a shared space.
Dog owners that would like to see a formalized dog run in Chestnut Hill or their community can begin the process of requesting one through Parks & Rec. There are also some designated places where dog owners can use an off-leash dog run.
Betsy and Billy Kells
David and Alexia Caulk