Wednesday, February 24, 2010

South Loop Dog Park Cooperative: Striving for a dog friendly community in Chicago's South Loop

We know the South Loop has a ton of dogs in the neighborhood and occasionally they cause quite a stir on Sloopin. With that said, we were recently contacted by the South Loop Dog Park Cooperative about raising awareness about their organization and their projects. Their vision and mission is:
Vision: The South Loop Dog PAC envisions a clean, safe, and healthy neighborhood for all dogs and humans who live and play in the South Loop.

Mission:
The South Loop Dog PAC advocates for and supports responsible dog-ownership in Chicago’s South Loop. We provide and maintain safe off-leash areas for dogs and humans to socialize in area parks, and we work to encourage healthy and mutually beneficial dog-human relationships in the community.

It's not a small undertaking and members are necessary to live up to these goals. With that said, they have a membership drive that currently is going on (they're trying to get 210 new members in 2010):
The SLDogPAC has started a membership drive this year, with the goal of increasing the membership support sufficiently to sustain operations in the future (operations: replace the pea gravel in the parks, clean up the parks, supply dog waste bags at the new dispensers we've installed, as well as trying to implement improvements to the two off-leash areas). Without community support (membership, donations) it's going to be hard to get anything done (see membership benefits here). So, we need community awareness of the SLDogPAC, and we need people who are willing to become members.

They're also interested in our thoughts about their organization:
It would be interesting to get a sense of the community's feelings about the SLDogPAC - often when I've been to either of the DFAs with my dogs there have been far more people and dogs using the park than are members in the SLDogPAC, and when asked, people have indicated that they were unaware of the existence of the SLDogPAC. But I wonder if that's true (there are signs up everywhere, now). Naively (again, I've only been on the board since last March) one would think that the dog community would want to support the group that's trying to maintain a facility they use regularly (membership is only $30/year!), but I wonder if there's some other resistance to the SLDogPAC's mission. And if there is, we need to hear about it!
So what are your thoughts? Inquiring minds want to know...

Finally, this is a post about dogs after all so we feel obligated to show a YouTube video of a cute puppy:

43 comments:

Patrick said...

I don't own a dog, but, if joining this co op could reduce the amount of dog shit people leave on the sidewalk for me to step in, I would join. Just sayin.

dogowner said...

as a dog owner, people please pick up your dog sh1t!!!!!!

Scrumpy said...

I'll be joining. Our pups love Grant Bark Park.

However... I appreciate the effort of the members who posted flyers around the neighborhood but they were not done well. Plain old paper in this weather has made them all look like trash immediately. Not the best way to promote a group that is working on beautifying the neighborhood.


And finally... why the hell does snow on the ground make people think they don't need to pick up the poop?

Anonymous said...

Let's hope this co-op makes it a priority to educate its members/dog owners about RESPONSIBILITY. The amount of dog shit/piss all over this neighborhood is ashame and disgusting.

Also, FYI dog owners: it doesn't matter how small your "custom puppy" is, it is NOT welcome in places like Jewel and Starbucks!

Anonymous said...

This group has its work cut out for it. As a former dog owner it frustrates me to see so much crap on the sidewalk and so many dogs off-leash in our neighborhood. Also, the lack of respect for people's flowers and grassy areas near children's play equipment is sickening. Oh yeah and when did Roosevelt Park become an off-leash dog park? WTF? Where can my children run and roll and play without dog pee and crap on the soles of their shoes and on their clothes. Respect the non-dogs in the neighborhood!!
In summation, getting along with we the dog-less is easy just follow these easy steps....
Pick up your dog crap!
Leash your damn dog!
Stop letting your dog pee on all the flowers and children's play areas of Dearborn Park - our children would like to be able to sit on the grass without sitting in urine and crap!
And stop thinking it is cute to put your dog down the slide or on the other children's play equipment ~ Seriously!!

Anonymous said...

I'm not a dog owner, but wanted to know what the LAWS were in leaving 'stuff' on the sidewalk or grass? I just dont understand how all of these people are getting away with this?

southloopdogpoop said...

Wow, six comments on this post, and all six are complaints about poo!

There are laws and the City "should" enforce them. But we're not the City. What are we going to do?

Follow South Poop - an initiative to come up with ideas to address the problem of orphan poo in the South Loop.

Carl said...

Short of actually catching someone not picking up after their animal, there's nothing substantive I can see being done. As much as I'd like to see an offender get nailed by a cop, I'd much rather have police focused on violent crime.

Hey, South Poop. Do you pick up the poop after you've photographed it? Just curious. I'll bet your site really appeals to fecal fetishists.

Tim said...

South Poop, I have some ideas for you:

1. Instead of putting disgraced cops on administrative leave, reassign them as park etiquette enforcers.

2. Dog poop cameras. Like red light cameras but stinkier. We might have to start implanting people with RFID tags before this is feasible.

3. Get out your camcorder and start spying on your neighbors. FOX News would probably air your exposé!

Anthill521 said...

Here's a simpler solution.

If everyone who saw a stray poo picked it up, the neighborhood would instantly be cleaner.

In the meantime, quit complaining, join the South Loop Dog PAC, and do something positive to make a difference in your neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Anthill - when I come by your house next week and take a number 2- can you wipe my ass? Thanks.

FGFM said...

If everyone who saw a stray poo picked it up, the neighborhood would instantly be cleaner.

What the Capplepoop!

southloopdogpoop said...

Good comments everybody (Carl, Tim, Anthill, and Anonymous!), and they nicely illustrate some of the problems we’re dealing with. South Poop thinks that what’s needed is a cultural change – sure that’s a fuzzy concept, and who knows what I mean, ‘cause if we had ‘the solution’ it would be done by now – but seriously, something that’s similar to the transition from medieval times - throw your bucket of sh*t out the window into the open sewer – fine! - to modern times – indoor plumbing, and the idea leaving your sewage open in the City of Chicago is unthinkable. But talking about it leaves you open to potty jokes (thanks for the illustration, big A!). The thing is, if you have a dog, you have to, in a word, ‘embrace’ the poo – yes, that’s weird, but it doesn’t mean anything deviant, just that if you have a dog, you have to pick it up, and you have to have some way to approach it (otherwise you’d gag all the time!). And others call for the responsible ones to clean up other people’s (and it’s the people’s, not the dog’s!) mess (thanks Carl & Anthill!). That’s warm and fuzzy, and the effort should probably be supported, but… South Poop wants to ask how many people are leaving dog poo behind, and why do they think it’s ok? It’s a small minority of dog owners - and we can say this because there is a dog community, and we know our ‘dog friends’ and we know that they all pick up. So who thinks it’s ok? Do they tell their friends? Do they think nobody notices? Well, South Poop notices, and it takes pictures! ;-0)

Doug Freymann said...

I’m a member of the South Loop Dog PAC, and I think Anthill has it right – it’s unfortunate that a post about the SLDogPAC has degenerated to a discussion of dog poo, when by FAR most dog people pick up after their pups. The ‘poo problem’ is caused by a few owners who don’t care, and those people cause problems for all of us. The SLDogPAC mission is not to pick up poo, it’s to take care of the two off-leash dog areas and to advocate for dogs and ‘responsible dog ownership’ (whatever that is) in the community. And this mission needs support, both in terms of people who are willing to be active in the organization, and in terms of money to buy supplies and make improvements. We’ve been pushing for more dog waste bag dispensers, we’ve been pushing for improved surfaces at the off-leash areas, we’ve been pushing for improvements to the water fountains, lighting, and signage. If you want to make a difference, please join this effort. We need ideas, we need hands, and we need your voice.

Joe said...

Hey dog owners!
How about respecting the private property of others. I don't come to
your house and relieve myself in your bushes or on your back gate so don't let your dog do it on mine. And if you insist on it like so many of you do, please don't look at me when I come out of my house angry and remind
you that it is private property.
Really every day at least a half a dozen times and this is just when I am home.

Marinauser said...

We banned smoking for health reasons. Why can't we ban dogs for the same reason. Why should kids be forced to play in dog feces and urine if they want to play baseball or soccer or simply want to run and play. And saying most dog owners pick up is like saying many smokers turn their head when they exhale. I haven't seen any urine picked up. I am tired of our neighborhood being destroyed by people's dogs. When did it become okay for you to walk your dog one block away from your home and practically up to my front door to deposit a present for my family. The dogs from the 1400 S. State apartment building have literally destroyed the grass and plant ways at the entrance to Dearborn Park II and when the snow melts, you will find that most owners did not pick up what their dogs left behind.

Anonymous said...

I have to laugh a little bit about the kids playing in dog urine and feces argument. This is the big bad city after all. Considering that at least once a week I see a human peeing in public, getting rid of the dogs isn't going to completely take care of that problem.

If you want a clean place for your kid to play, I believe that is why we have suburbs.

I am child-free yet my taxes go to pay for your kids' public schools and playgrounds. So forgive me if I let my dog take a pee on a tree in a public park.

Anonymous said...

The dog poo is only half the problem. Even those who are adamant about picking up poo, don't do anything about the dog piss. Dog piss is just as toxic and just as deadly to plants/trees/grass. Further, the wet stains all over my brick wall every morning do nothing but attract other rats - eerr dogs - to my stoop.

SouthLoopScot said...

Ban dogs? How about banning self-centered urban wanna-be's instead? I agree with anonymous, if you want your kids to play in a poo/pee free zone then move to the suburbs and buy a house with a fenced yard! Otherwise get over yourself.

ABetterSLoop said...

Anyone who equates the right of kids to play on poo/piss-free grass with the right of a dog to use any public space as a toilet is an idiot. Yes, that's you SouthLoopScot.

It's ironic that anyone should suggest the suburbs since most of the dogs I see would have a better life in the suburbs. It's the self-centered and selfish person who chooses to keep their dogs locked up 8+ hours, expects them to hold their piss all day, puts them on a leash and than walk them around the block as adequate exercise. It's even more hilarious to see someone owning a 50+ lb. dog and live in a small one bedroom apartment. Get a clue. You're not doing your dogs a favor by keeping them in the city. Dogs are a responsibility, not an accessory to your lifestyle. Dogs deserve better and so do your neighbors.

All Pups Are Good Pups said...

Marinauser, et al - Dogs have lived with humans for 10,000 + years. ‘We’re not going to ban dogs like ‘we’ banned smoking because dogs are important to the health and well-being of many of your neighbors. And they’re fun to have around. The national average is 39% of households with dogs (HSUS). There are probably a couple of thousand of dog households in the South Loop. Dogs are no more dirty and carry no more disease than anybody else. Urine is sterile. Dogs are not going to go away.

But your issues come up every time dogs are discussed in a public forum, as if pee and poo were ‘dog problems’. They are not. They are are people problems. Here’s a tip: ‘accept the dog’. Dogs are going to pee and poo in good faith, where they are asked to, and most dog companions are going to clean up after them. If some people do not, or if some let their dogs go on your back gate, well ‘there oughta be a law’. Oh, there is. Call a cop.

There are a lot of happy dogs in the city. Big dogs and little dogs. Slow dogs and fast dogs. They are a part of our community that is important to a lot of people, and one that shares, and should share, our sidewalks and our ‘grass’. That is how it should be – dogs and their companions walking through the neighborhood enrich it in a way that the cars and SUVs parked in front of every condo never will.

Anonymous said...

I've got it... here's the deal:

Those folks with kids... You guys all agree to keep your kids out of restaurants, bars, movies, and stores so we can enjoy ourselves without screaming, the smell of dirty diapers, and such.

In return, we dog owners will either toilet train or litter box train our dogs so they don't interfere with your kiddos' play time and bring diseases upon your family.

Sound fair?

Can't we all just get along said...

"Call a cop" - how about instead, "talk to your neighbor without judging them and come to an understanding between reasonable people"?

SouthLoopScot said...

"Anyone who equates the right of kids to play on poo/piss-free grass with the right of a dog to use any public space as a toilet is an idiot. Yes, that's you SouthLoopScot."

Hey BSL, I never "equated" anything. I was merely pointing out that anyone who would propose banning dogs is a bit over dramatic and unreasonable.

I always pick up after my dogs. And I don't let them pee on people's flowers or stoops. (they're both under 25 LBS btw) The way you and Marinauser are acting you'd think the local parks and playgrounds are buried 10 feet deep in dog feces! That just isn't so. Sure there are irresponsible dog owners that don't pick up after their dogs, and it pisses me off just as much as you. But to call for a dog ban is utter nonsense.

ABetterSLoop said...

"Those folks with kids... You guys all agree to keep your kids out of restaurants, bars, movies, and stores so we can enjoy ourselves without screaming, the smell of dirty diapers, and such.

In return, we dog owners will either toilet train or litter box train our dogs so they don't interfere with your kiddos' play time and bring diseases upon your family."

Again, anyone who equates or compares children with dogs at any level or any situation needs to get their head checked out. You're not helping your cause.

As far as banning dogs, no one is suggesting dogs be banned from the city. Instead, dogs should and are banned from certain public spaces i.e. notice the "no dogs" signs in the parks. Where they are not banned, there are specific laws to keep them under control - let's follow them. Dogs should certainly be kept off private property - that's common sense.

Let's get one thing straight. Dogs are kept as pets for the benefit of the people who own them. They don't get any benefit to living an urban life. Please don't try to argue that anyone in this discussion is fighting for the welfare of the animals. They're arguing for their own personal benefit.

And, yes, this whole discussion is centered around an issue with dog-owners. But like any other issue where people can't be relied on to be responsible - alcohol, smoking, drugs, etc - the only option is to impose more control and regulation.

"The way you and Marinauser are acting you'd think the local parks and playgrounds are buried 10 feet deep in dog feces! That just isn't so."

Seems the issue is enough of a problem to create this discussion. Perhaps part of the problem is when people dismiss this. Yes, let's have everyone get a long. But in order to do this, let's recognize how large of a problem this is.

BTW - in my lifetime, I've owned 5 dogs. All of them had plenty of space to run around and have a healthy life.

Carl said...

This has degraded into a seriously insipid thread!

Humans have been living with animals from Day One. Seriously, it's only been about 100 years since we weren't in the constant company of horses (and their urine and feces). Animals of every stripe have been living and dying (and excreting waste) out of doors for much longer than we've been on the planet . . . and probably will continue to do so long after we're gone!

Wherever this fear/hate is coming from is wildly irrational . . . bordering on sociopathic.

Grass Has Rights Too said...

The comments by the in-denial dog owners, Anthill, etc. show why this is a problem that won't get fixed and the South Loop Coop won't work. You all keep claiming it is a small minority or a few bad dog owners causing the problem....what a load of poop. The poop problem is probably 40-50% of dog owners. The piss problem is almost all dog owners who let their dog whizzz anywhere they can on peoples lawns, street parkways and parks.

How about before you take your dog for a walk you let them poop and urinate in front of your house, on your property, or inside your condo, and then go for your walk.

1401 S. State, wow... said...

With all due respect, the dog haters are full of 's*it'.

My dogs and I walked 2 1/2 miles through the South Loop this morning and found thirteen (13) orphan poos.

Thirteen. And five of those were across from 1401 S. State.

Eight (8) poos over 2 miles is nothing. There were a lot more discarded wrappers, bottles, junk. Eight poos are hardly 'destroying' the neighborhood.

Five (5) poos in a short block is a problem. Address it - reach out to 1401 S. State. Talk to them - clearly there are a lot of people there who don't get it, yet.

But throughout the neighborhood in general... there is no factual basis for this issue dominating the discussion about dogs.

There's only your hysteria, odd 'logic', and vague notions.

Cut it out - unless you're willing to sit down and discuss what's really going on.

(And maybe that's where the South Loop Dog Park Action Cooperative can help.)

Anonymous said...

Um, 8 random piles of sh!t on the public way are 8 too many.

Anonymous said...

"Um, 8 random piles of sh!t on the public way are 8 too many."


No sh!t.

Or actually I agree and it is sh!t.

And the people voicing their concerns aren't dog-haters. They're sh!t-haters. This is about the dog owners who allow sh!t to happen. Unfortunately, it's the dogs who end up in the middle and ultimately suffer the consequences.

Dog owners need to get their sh!t together. Or at least pick it up.

If you haven't caught on, this is about the sh!t.

Anonymous said...

As a lifelong dog owner and parent of three young children, I'm both shocked and disgusted that anyone would even think to compare a child to a dog - even if just to prove a point on some internet blog. There is no place for likening a baby crying in a restaurant to a dog owner allowing his dog to crap and piss in a park.

I spend an equal amount of my outdoor time at both dog parks and playgrounds. Just like I would never allow my kids to roll around in a designated doggy park, it is never - ever - okay for a dog to run through a park designated for "humans only." The fact that many (MANY) dog owners think nothing of letting their dogs play in areas clearly deliniated for kids and pedestrians is plain sad and reflects poorly on this neighborhood. It's even worse when you see the dogs crap and piss in the park. And, let's face it, dogs piss just about every 100 yards when running outside. Sterile or not, that is NOT something you want your kids' ball, bike, shoes, etc. to touch.

Lance Uppercut said...

Because if wasn't for dog waste, these parks would be completely sanitary.

Anonymous said...

Biologically speaking, avian excrement is much more toxic than dog poop. I say we tax all winged creatures into the Stone Age!

Honestly, general trash on the streets (especially cigarette butts) seems like a bigger issue to me and that's no where near being addressed. When was the last time you saw someone picked up someone else's trash? There's a woman I see regularly who walks a medium-sized dog and picks up not only only her pet's droppings but that of others AND whatever other trash happens to be around.

I guess it's always someone else's problem and a lecture on lack of civic pride generally doesn't convert anyone.

Anonymous said...

Before we talk about errant dog poop, let’s talk about errant human poop.

Every time it rains heavily in the Midwest, billions of gallons of untreated sewage gets dumped in our riverways and lakes. Cities like Chicago and Milwaukee get a lot of bad press for doing it, but most of the smaller communities do it as well (but dump smaller quantities due to their smaller populations). Since midwesterner’s tend to use the same water for their drinking supply, this represents a more significant health hazard than stepping on dog poop.

Just a little perspective.

Anonymous said...

We all make life choices that annoy other people. That's my point.

I don't have a kid, so I tend to get annoyed by crying babies.

I don't own a car, so I tend to get annoyed by gas-gusslers.

I do own two dogs and understand that annoys some people.

In the end, I hope that my efforts to be a good neighbor in other ways balance out the fact that my dogs are going to pee in Grant Park.

Now if anyone wants to start a protest against the geese and their mess along the lakefront, I'm totally in.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Before we talk about errant dog poop, let’s talk about errant human poop.....drinking supply, this represents a more significant health hazard than stepping on dog poop."


Here we go, make more excuses for the Dog owners and try to minimize the problem by trying to compare it to some other non-relevant issue..., such as previous posters who compare the rights and tax funding of schools and kids parks with that of dogs.

The irony is many dog owners equate the two, and care more about their dogs life than they do about the kids in society. 90% of the dog owners I know are anti-social a-holes, the "it is all about me" selfish JO's, "who don't want to be bothered about anything in society, unless they make money off of it" types.

I think the best thing to do is put up fencing in the street parkway grass are like they do in Gold Coast, but that would be offensive to dog owners who feel their dog as the right to whizz and poo where-ever they want.

Lance Uppercut said...

Statistics show that dog owners live longer.

Just throwing that out there.

SouthLoopScot said...

"Seems the issue is enough of a problem to create this discussion. Perhaps part of the problem is when people dismiss this. Yes, let's have everyone get a long. But in order to do this, let's recognize how large of a problem this is."

That's the thing, the "problem" is only as large as you are making it. Again, I don't deny there are those that don't clean up after their dogs. But it's nowhere as bad as you'd like to make it out to be. You may not have said anything about banning dogs, however Marinauser said and I quote:

"We banned smoking for health reasons. Why can't we ban dogs for the same reason. Why should kids be forced to play in dog feces and urine if they want to play baseball or soccer or simply want to run and play. And saying most dog owners pick up is like saying many smokers turn their head when they exhale."

Seems like this person is calling for an all out ban. If these kinds of theatrics are used, of course people will dismiss your concerns.

"The irony is many dog owners equate the two, and care more about their dogs life than they do about the kids in society. 90% of the dog owners I know are anti-social a-holes, the "it is all about me" selfish JO's, "who don't want to be bothered about anything in society, unless they make money off of it" types."

Seems to me that the company you keep doesn't reflect well upon you... Honestly, if you are trying to paint ALL dog owners with this paint stroke then don't be surprised if no one takes you seriously.

ABetterSLoop said...

"That's the thing, the "problem" is only as large as you are making it. Again, I don't deny there are those that don't clean up after their dogs. But it's nowhere as bad as you'd like to make it out to be."

I can now understand why there are irresponsible dog owners. It's because they share your dismissive attitude to this situation. It's the self-centered mindset of - hey, it's not really a problem...people are falsely making a big deal of it so I'm not going to clean up after my dog or follow the laws for dog ownership. Wake up and read these posts. It is a significant problem and it has progressively gotten worse in my 10 years living in the near south loop.

Seems the only justification I'm reading for the dog crap is it's okay because we live in the city and it should be expected to be dirty with litter and human and dog crap/piss everywhere. Or a little dog crap isn't a big deal because the streets are already dirty so what's the difference. And it seems I'm being encouraged to stop making a big deal of it and instead I should clean up after these dogs and ignore the stench of urine when I eat or walk outside.

Well, forget it. If the dog owners can't get this problem under control - than you can expect others to get more vocal. I would suggest we need more strict enforcement of segregated public spaces esp. around school/playground areas where children are present. I would like to see public signs that remind dog owners of the short leash laws and the penalty for not cleaning up after their pets. I would also like to see the restaurants become more aggressive in preventing dogs from peeing/pooing in front of their businesses.

I'm all for supporting any South Loop organization as long as it puts its residents first and the dogs a distant second. If the SLDogPAC wants to be relevant for everyone who lives in this neighborhood, than they need to directly and clearly address this issue as a pressing problem.

Anonymous said...

To the person who walked 2 miles and only saw 8 piles: not possible!

I walked three blocks from my towhouse on Sunday morning to Old St. Mary's for mass and saw at least twice that amount.

And I agree with all the comments which voice disgust over people comparing dogs to kids. Give me a break!!

Stephanie said...

I do not own a dog, but am planning on getting one soon. I have also dog-sat a few times and gone to the area dogs park and did not know until reading this post about the existence of the South Loop Dog Park Cooperative. Although we don't yet have a dog, we're planning on joining to ensure that the So. Loop remains a dog-friendly area.

Anonymous said...

Was at the Printers Row Park a few weeks back walking around with my son checking out the new space on Dearborn. Brand new urban open space in the middle of the city. Only took about 3 months for the dog owners to crap every where in the place, behind the bushes, on the pavers, and even on the grass area where it says not dogs allowed. Why waste effort and money on parks with this type of behavior? Yet, according to some, my job is to pick up dog poop and do my part, even though I don't have a dog. Why not make bigger dog lisc fees to pay for this clean-up.

Carl said...

Keeping a dog (particularly in our urban setting) is more like car ownership than anything IMO. It's a privilege, not a right . . . at it comes with certain responsibilities.

I don't think additional laws are the answer considering how current laws are not enforced. I'd gladly pay a higher dog license fee if I could actually see those funds in use as opposed to just lining someone's pockets or getting squandered/diverted.

It's a complicated issue. Sadly, a certain type of person will always litter without giving it a second thought. I see a lot of people who, quite frankly, have no business owning a pet . . . or driving a car . . . or raising a child.