I am pleading with you to delay any action to allow dogs on the Commons. I have come before you about the impacts of this. Living on the Commons for about 10 years, I know all its noise issues. The concrete and narrow corridor amplifies sounds of all times, and is cumulative. COVID also has kept us at home more, not able to escape a noisy situation. Dog barking is continuous at all hours of day and night and unpredictable, unlike a set time of events and concerts. There are also busker musicians with dogs that bark. We do not have enough police, if at all, to come prompt to a noise complaint.
Dogs pee on the Commons and poop. Cleaning up poop will leave a smear which still gets stepped on and transported by wheels and shoes to indoor environments, which many are carpeted. Pressure cleaning can disseminate feces further and be airborn. Like the past bird droppings. The city also will bear the expenses of extra labor and cleaning. Staff that works on beautifying the Commons planters can be subjected to the poop.
Dogs bark and fight with each other. Events now on the Commons are crowded with dogs at close quarters. Some people feel unsafe and uncomfortable. More dogs will guarantee dog noises, which are unpredictable. I have experienced all of the above and dog owners, which some can be irresponsible.
It is not true that tourists don’t respect the rules. I have encountered many who do with caring and respect. The laws of the Commons don’t have to be unwelcoming. We have them so we can coexist and acknowledging that dogs do have an impact, which without the laws are hard to control. Taking the dog rules away will leave no protection of unruly dogs and irresponsible dog owners.
We must have more emphasis on education through public outreach in our tourist pamphlets, info, website and Commons representatives. We have a number of laws protecting the Commons, chipping away at them will only serve to a place of uncooperation.
The process also must be democratic. We need a public hearing, one that is post-COVID where people can be physically at Common Council chambers with all parties concerned. I ask for a delay in any action to reverse the existing law. Please take the time to reflect on these concerns.