|Bill and Linda Woodland walk their dog, Kuma, through Nichols Arboretum on a recent evening. The Woodlands say they live near the Arboretum and take two walks a day through it. (Photo by Bill Wood, U-M Photo Services)|
To help educate pet owners, the city has developed a fact card listing The Top Five Reasons to Leash Your Dog in Our Parks and Nature Areas and Remove Its Waste. The five reasons are:
In addition to the fact cards, the citys education campaign has included Woodcock Week. This series of nature walks focused on the unusual American woodcock, one of the ground-nesting birds that could be easily disturbed by free-roaming dogs, says Nancy Novitski, special projects coordinator for the Ann Arbor Parks Departments Natural Area Preservation Division. The Parks Department also intends to improve the posting of signs about keeping dogs on leashes in city parks. And the citys animal control officers are working with the Parks Department to increase enforcement in parks.
With the big push for awareness, Grese says, we want to work together with the community to solve this problem so that everyone can enjoy the parks and gain respect for wildlife, the environment and other park users. The goal isnt to close the Arb to dogs, but to make it easier for people to walk their dogs there with respect to the law.
In fact, the Arboretum has a new attraction for dogs this spring. Two U-M graduates who walk their dog frequently in the Arboretum donated money to install a drinking fountain for dogs right next to one for humans.