Are dogs perfect park patrons or a menace to human visitors?
Suzi Helmlinger, a downtown business owner who lives in Southeast Portland: 'Absolutely, yes. But dog owners must be responsible. That means making sure that their dogs are given regular vaccines and that they are licensed. Not to mention, picking up after the dogs when they do what comes naturally. Dogs love to socialize, just like their human counterparts, and the park is a wonderful place for this to occur.'
Paddy Tillett, an architect who lives in Northwest Portland: 'I'm not a dog owner but walk through parks whenever I can. A trip to the park is clearly the high point of any canine day and a time for regular socializing among their human companions. Most clean up after their dogs and should not be penalized because of the few who do not. Yes, dogs belong in our parks, but dog owners, please exert a bit of peer pressure on the flaky few who don't clean up.'
Richard Ellmyer, an advocate for greater funding for animal control who lives in North Portland: 'Who is responsible for cleaning the dog crap off your children playing in the park? Should our freedom to safely and without fear walk in a public park be jeopardized by out-of-control animals? Name all the law-abiding dog owners you know who always keep 'My Dog Doesn't Bite' on a leash and pick up its feces?'
Michelle Detwiler, an energy industry specialist who lives in Northeast Portland: 'Of course, dogs belong in Portland parks, but under their owners' control. One must respect the rights of the others to not be bothered by someone's dog in the common enjoyment of a park. The issues between dog and non-dog owners would be much fewer if there were a decent off-leash area in Portland.'
Rachel Gerber, a legal secretary in Portland who lives in Beaverton: 'Dogs are perfect park visitors Ñ happy, enthusiastic and friendly Ñ and we should triple or quadruple the number of off-leash areas. Canines aren't the problem; it's their owners' failure to leash up or pick up that ruins a nice afternoon in the park.'
Harvey Fink, a downtown Portland consultant who lives in Vancouver, Wash.: 'Yes, but owners should be responsible to clean up after them, and dogs should be leashed except for certain areas in large parks where they can be allowed to run free.'