In Staff Writer Dennis Hoey’s news story “Council committee recommends leash restrictions for Baxter Woods” (Feb. 26), he failed to mention key issues that proponents of an off-leash policy were asking for, which are: to gather data about the impact of off-leash dogs on the bird populations in Baxter Woods before they voted about a new leash law, and to expand the recommended hours put forth by the city’s parks and recreation staff (5 to 9 a.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. for off-leash dogs).

Councilor Jill Duson’s comment that dogs not under voice control ruin the park for everyone else ignores the city’s own findings that off-leash dogs are actually under voice control 92 percent of the time. The Sustainability and Transportation Committee’s decision to allow some off-leash hours suggest they are willing to allow a bird sanctuary and off-leash dogs to co-exist. We hope the rest of the city councilors and the mayor recognize that there is still much room for compromise to determine park hours that are fair and equitable for all stakeholders involved.

I would also respectfully ask that the city councilors and the mayor direct the city park staff to collect data during the bird breeding season in Baxter Woods, so decisions about the health of the bird habitat are based on data and not hypotheticals about these woods, birds and dogs.

Sarah Maloney


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