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Aug 13, 2008

Stephenville needs a Dog Park - Petition!

Target: Stephenville City Council
Sponsored by: the Citizens of Stephenville, Texas
Please support the creation of an enclosed, off-leash dog park in Stephenville, TX!

Our beautiful and fast growing City of Stephenville, Texas, does not offer a place where responsible dog owners have the opportunity to let their dogs off leash, nor are there enough Animal Control Officers to enforce the law and City Ordinances regarding the animal and human welfare.

As a result, dog-related incidents are increasing due to more dog owners moving to Stephenville.

A dog park would not only provide a safe place for owners to exercise their canine friends, but it would also provide a place for the community to meet and share a common interest.

The letter to the Stephenville City Council that you are signing:

This petition, supported by the undersigned constituents, is directed to the respected Members of the Stephenville City Council and other concerned City Officials.

Our goal is to support the designation and construction of an enclosed dog park at the proposed area across from the tennis courts with the back to W Long St (between the pavilion by the swimming pool and the washed out concrete road that crosses the river, behind the wooden dock).

We, the undersigned constituents of Stephenville, Texas, respectfully urge you to authorize the funding required to establish an off-leash dog park to be created at the location described above, or any other suitable location within the City Park.

In creating a Dog Park, we hope to accomplish multiple goals:

  1. To establish a fenced in, off-leash Dog Park where well-behaved dogs can exercise in a clean, safe environment without endangering or annoying people, property, or wildlife.
  2. To develop a beautiful, well-maintained space, open to all dog lovers and friends who are willing to uphold the park- and city's laws, rules, and restrictions.
  3. To view this park as a community project, in partnership with the City of Stephenville, designed to satisfy the needs of dog-owners and non-dog owners alike.
We request the City of Stephenville to authorize adequate funding to provide appropriate fencing, including a double gated entry to prevent dogs from bolting, water availability, garbage cans, and signage so that this park can be constructed as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, no off-leash dog parks currently exist in the fast growing City of Stephenville. Just as other taxpayers enjoy convenient public swimming pools, jogging trails, golf courses, and playgrounds, dog owners need a place to exercise and enjoy their pets in an off-leash environment.

Further, such a park will benefit the greater community in the following ways.

  1. It is in a dog's genes to travel with the pack to earn food and to socialize with their own kind. A dog deprived of these basic needs is restricted from releasing energy through exercise and socializing, and will in most cases develop behavioral problems. Aggression, nuisance barking, and destructive behavior are just a few of them. A dog park will allow the responsible dog owner to fulfill these basic needs.
  2. Such a facility would increase general park utilization and build bonds within the community.
  3. The park could also act as a venue to stage pet adoptions, dog obedience training, and educational programs promoting an improved quality of life for all of our community dogs.
  4. Those who care enough to attend dog parks are usually registered voters, educated people, very attractive to local businesses. Such citizens attract others like themselves to live in the area, continuing the trend to increase revenues to local business and to the tax base.
  5. Once the off-leash park is constructed, a core group of community activists including the creators of this petition do commit ourselves to its continued maintenance (e.g. organized periodic cleanup efforts).
Again, we would appreciate your consideration in constructing an enclosed off-leash dog park at the Stephenville City Park.

Statistics show that over 35% of all households have dogs, and the average number of dogs in a residence household is 1.43 dogs. This means a community of 10,000 households has over 5,000 dogs. A dog park serves a similar proportion of the community population to that of children's playgrounds and athletic fields.


The Undersigned

This petition was created by Birgit Sommer (me) in response to the recent dog shooting at the City Park. Here is a link to the Empire Tribune's story about the incident:

Tarleton officer shoots dog in City Park

Staff Writer
Published: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 11:08 AM CDT
An off-duty Tarleton police officer shot a pit bull he claimed was about to attack his children in Stephenville City Park Monday.

According to Jeff “Chili” Alexander, he and his children were playing in the park near the tennis courts when four dogs, none of them on leashes, started playing in the stream that runs along the north side of the courts.

Brianna Reyes, the owner of the pit bull, and another girl were with the dogs. Reyes admitted the dogs were running loose and playing in the water, but said they were not acting aggressive toward anyone.
Witnesses in the park at the time of the shooting backed up Reyes’ claim.





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