Help Oakland safeguard our parks


MONTCLARION NEWSPAPER – April 23, 2009

I LIKE ANIMALS as much as the next person. Heck, I probably like them more, because I’ll stop and talk to a dog or a deer or just about any four-legged creature (sans skunks) I see on my street.

But when it comes to dangerous off-leash dogs, I have zero tolerance. I’ve been bitten before and it’s left more than a scar on my finger. It’s left one on my psyche.There are too many unruly dogs in Oakland parks and too many arrogant owners. And in a city that can barely pay for police officers, park rangers aren’t exactly a priority. So the ones we do have are asking for your help.

Take the Shepherd Canyon path, for instance. With only two rangers to patrol more than 150 parks, there’s only enough manpower to check this trail twice a week. Yet there have been numerous reports of dog attacks and other violations this year.

In Shepherd Canyon Park, signs clearly state that no dogs are allowed. But on any given day, you’ll see dogs and their owners running through the grass that hundreds of children use as their soccer field.

Then there’s the whole issue of vandalism in the parks. Someone even defaced the interpretive sign that was put up by a local Boy Scout as part of his Eagle Scout project. It doesn’t get much lower than that.

If you see someone breaking the law, think about making a call on your cell phone. You can reach our park rangers from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday at 510-482-7888. When no rangers are on duty, call the non-emergency police line at 510-777-3333.

Around Town: Speaking of crime “… the new, smaller shopping carts you see at some grocery stores are apparently a favorite size for thieves, too. The Grand Lake Safeway has reportedly lost more than 100 of the carts in just a few weeks ā€” a heavy hit at $270 each. It’s one of the reasons we haven’t seen the small carts come to the Montclair Safeway yet.

Meanwhile “… mold and budget cuts have forced the closure of the Montclair Library for the next few months. Librarian Leon Cho says workers found spores behind the south side bookshelves, in the fiction section and a spot in the hall by the reference section

It hasn’t been easy working with a historic building like this. Just finding a guy to put on a new slate roof with copper flashing and gutters was a chore, not to mention finding someone to rebuild the custom-made bookshelves. All that ā€” and the city’s money woes ā€” and you have a local library that will be shuttered until the fiscal year ends on July 1.

Coyote Sightings: It seems I’m not the only one who’s spotted a coyote recently. After writing about the animal who “stalked” me in the high grass above a popular Moraga trail, I’ve had reports of sightings in several backyards and even near the Cascades in Joaquin Miller Park. Coyotes are fascinating creatures and quite skilled at hunting. Unfortunately, their favorite prey is too often someone’s pet.

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One thought on “Help Oakland safeguard our parks

  1. Just commenting on your comments, which I agree with.
    There was something written in your column a while ago,
    by Kathleen Witt, saying her dog had been attacked twice on the trail by other dogs.
    Well, I know this dog, He is not on a lease, is a male and not neutered…ridiculous

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