Dogs in ball fields

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Dogs in ball fields

Postby Millie » Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:18 pm

When the ball fields in Merrimack are not in use by teams/clubs is it OK for small dog play groups? A small group of nearby residents like to meet 1-2 times a week to let their dogs play. Of course we pick up all doggy poop. I understand there is a 'dog park committee' in town, but after 6 years we are not sure it will happen.
Are well behaved dogs & observant and courteous people welcome to enjoy the fields when other town activities are not scheduled there?
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Re: Dogs in ball fields

Postby lynn » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:30 pm

I certainly would think anyone is welcome on any field in Merrimack
as long as the town does not have a pre-scheduled activity
responsible use is always appreciated whether it is MYA or dogs
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Re: Dogs in ball fields

Postby WIZ » Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:23 pm

That advice (above) would be contrary to my observations at the Veterans Memorial Park ball fields on Camp Sargent Road. Signs are clearly posted that dogs are not allowed on the fields. And I often see the Merrimack Animal Control Officer patrolling the area and reminding folks that dogs are not allowed in the fields. I would think this is town wide ordinance (probably for liability issues), but maybe not. Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to use ball fields for dog recreation, just on health reasons alone. I have yet to see anyone pick up urine and place it in their plastic Market Basket bag. But like a lot of things in town, it’s not a problem until someone complains.
A Dog Park is a better for everyone, including the dogs. Why the loss of enthusiasm for the planned dog park at Watson Park? OR was that ruled out because of the environmental stipulations that prevent post holes being dug for a fence?
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Re: Dogs in ball fields

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Fri Jun 22, 2012 12:19 am

I see plenty of people playing with their dogs at Watson Park.

The parking lot was packed today with people enjoying the swimming.
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Re: Dogs in ball fields

Postby Tim Tenhave » Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:11 am

The Town's recreational areas are covered by Chapter 142 at: http://www.merrimacknh.gov/sites/merrim ... %20142.pdf

There is no Town wide ordinance prohibiting dogs on all fields, only fields that are marked that way. The is a dog ordinance so you must have your dogs under your control and you must clean up after them, see: http://www.merrimacknh.gov/sites/merrim ... 120126.pdf

The dog park committee is meeting and working so call Town Hall if you want contact information for it. I am not part of it and don't know the details of their work.

As Lynn posted, as long as no one has rented the field or reserved it for a non-profit activity, all are welcome to use the fields. Thanks for cleaning up as well :-)

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Re: Dogs in ball fields

Postby Jimbo » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:41 am

Tim, the DPW has asked folks to not allow dogs to run on Martel field as well. Just a FYI, though over the years of running tournies there I did ask a few folks to pull the dogs off so the field could be used for its purpose. Kind words usually got a kind reaction :D
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Re: Dogs in ball fields

Postby RBarnes » Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:19 pm

Some fields are specifically marked no dogs and no golf. I would think that even if you do clean up after your dogs that urine would be harmful to the grass. Dogs also have a tendency to dig sometimes too.

Our town/ MYA spend a lot of money on field maintenance for our ball fields so it's fully understandable that they would want to prevent certain usages that could unintentionally damage them.
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Re: Dogs in ball fields

Postby bobandgeri » Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:13 pm

Millie

Sad that this town has no resources for our canine friends - it may one day as the dog park is in fund raising mode to build a dog park. Although it does not seem fair to us that with all the money we pay in taxes and never having had any children in the school system, that the town can't fund a dog park out of the tax base. Wonder if anybody has statistics on how much tax revenue is from households with no children - bet it is a fair amount.

All the ball fields we have visited are posted no dogs.

Assuming that you are looking for an area that is fenced in so you and your friends dogs can run free while playing. Have you been over to American K9 Country in Amherst? They have a FREE dog park that is fenced in. It is going to be closed for the month of July - "We are completely renovating our dog park so it’s a Fun Doggie Adventure Land complete with playing structures, park benches and tunnels to play in!"
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Re: Dogs in ball fields

Postby Jimbo » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:45 pm

Bob, the whole " we don't have any children in the school system" thing is a little long toothed. Every town in america is the same on that issue. You can always walk your dog down behind martel by the river. Plenty of trails back there. 8)
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Re: Dogs in ball fields

Postby Millie » Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:00 am

Jimbo,
Dog owners are not looking for 'walking areas', you are right -there are plenty. We are looking for off leash, contained play areas for small groups of dogs to socialize with each other safely. There are so many ball fields for adults & kids that are often not in use. And I must say I have removed a lot of trash from a particular field after the adult games- you would think alcohol was allowed... However, I want everyone to enjoy their time in town, I am just hoping that responsible pet owners & responsible game players can share nicely. Games go on for hours, we are only asking for field time when it is not in use - and we have always vacated the park if anyone with a ball/bat/etc shows up.
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Re: Dogs in ball fields

Postby Jimbo » Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:28 am

Millie, players never made policy, the Town does. The DPW installs signs based on what the TC and TM does, and what rules are passed. However maybe its time for the good ol boys to step aside and let some real common sense policies get put in place, like a dog park.
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Re: Dogs in ball fields

Postby bobandgeri » Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:14 am

Jimbo wrote:Bob, the whole " we don't have any children in the school system" thing is a little long toothed. Every town in america is the same on that issue. You can always walk your dog down behind martel by the river. Plenty of trails back there. 8)


Although we are in favor of a Dog Park and strongly believe it should be built using tax dollars, we would probably never take our pooch there - we tend to go for very long runs in the Grater Woods area, Horse Hill, Wildcat Falls, and Mine Falls in Nashua. FYI - between the official trails and those surrounding Grater Woods, there are more than 20 miles of trails.
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Re: Dogs in ball fields

Postby Debra Huffman » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:24 am

Millie, since you are interested in seeing the dog park completed, I hope you have contacted the dog park committee and are staying in the loop with that, and perhaps you can make some time to help them out? I believe some preliminary work has been done, the area has been staked out or something.

Even without the fenced in part, Watson Park has become a popular place for people who want to let their dog run around without having to walk miles on trails. Perhaps you and your dog can give that a try.
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Re: Dogs in ball fields

Postby bosox » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:28 am

Tim, the Town Code does specifically prohibit dogs who are not on a leash or in a cage "in restricted recreational areas", in section 142-9. The restricted recreational areas are listed in section 142-1, and include all the athletic fields and parks. This may need to be amended when/if the dog park is completed at Watson Park. 142-1 says that additional rules may be posted in each park (such as skate park rules, etc), but my read is that individual parks cannot be less restrictive (i.e. allow dogs off leash).

The ordinance referring to dogs being "under control" at all times (including voice control) is the general town animal ordinance of section 119-2 (description of "at large"). This would apply to all other areas of Town that aren't listed as "restricted recreational areas", except for the owner's premises.
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Re: Dogs in ball fields

Postby jackie » Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:34 pm

The Parks and Recreation Committee has an active subcommittee working on a future dog park at Watson Park. The members are now working on raising money for equipment, starting with fencing; since the newer fencing that had once been at the front of the park (wow, we've come a long way!) has been partly saved, and the surrounding fencing is somewhat usable, the dog park doesn't need 100% perimeter fencing. The plans are taking shape quickly, but ideas and members are still welcome. The subcommittee also welcomes visitors to the meetings which are posted on the town website; just look for Parks and Recreation Committee, and you'll find the dog park subcommittee. Visit Pets Choice and talk to Theresa, an owner, and ask her about it or Lynn Wenz, the chairman. I take my dog to Grater Woods a lot and let him run on the trails and logging road, taking a special treat in my pocket so he'll come back when he needs to. The ball fields are sometimes used by people who have unsocial dogs, or think they are entitled to be alone there. I have seen dog owners watch their dogs make a mess and not clean it up. No wonder the fields are posted! It only takes a few to spoil it for the rest.
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