by Ivan Shadis
The City of Montpelier Parks Commission convened Tuesday, February 19, the night before The Bridge went to press, to hold a public review of the recently conducted dog survey.
The 100-plus citizens who arrived at city hall were divided into two groups. In the majority were dog owners who had enjoyed the liberty and freedom the park’s existing policy had afforded their pets and came with appreciation and a willingness to find resolutions. In the minority were parents, skiers, birdwatchers and owners of land abutting the park who had come to feel threatened and even marginalized.
First to speak for minimal change in policy was Representative Warren Kitzmiller, here representing his 115-pound Burmese mountain dog who “lived for the joy of running with other dogs in Hubbard Park.” On the other side, Dave Pelletier of Terrace Street spoke of “the unnerving situation of carrying a young child” in the park, with unleashed dogs likely to come bounding up.”
At the meeting’s end, the commission moved to create three volunteer committees: (1) a group to review the canine code of conduct, (2) a dog-walkers’ culture committee and (3) a group of volunteers to clear feces from the trails.