First off, I am not a dog owner but I have friends who are and visit the Arboretum a couple of times a week with their canine companions and on occasion I tag along. My observations follow.
I wonder if anyone has considered the possibility that it was coyotes that attacked the unfortunate blue heron, not unleashed dogs. Coyotes look like dogs and it is reasonable to assume that one would confuse the two. Also, dogs are pack animals and tend not to join together with other dogs they don’t know to purposefully attack humans, so it seems somewhat specious to make claims of nefarious deeds visited upon unsuspecting runners and bicyclists.
Speaking of bicyclists, their Arboretum behavior is often less than stellar. They go too fast and many of them have no regard for pedestrians. Perhaps specifically marked bike paths would help. Runners need to understand they don’t own the place, too.
This is not to say there aren’t bad dog owners, as are there inattentive parents who allow their children to run amok trampling flowers, et cetera. Singling out canines for special punishment won’t make visiting the Arboretum safer or more pleasant, it will only pit neighbors against neighbors. If the new management at the Arboretum is obsessed with banning all dogs from the park, then I say someone needs to change priorities. A friend pointed out that proper dog walkers probably make the Arboretum safer as they are there at odd times of the day and night when people may be most vulnerable.
There is no reason why all can’t enjoy this incredible oasis in the city. Let’s not make it a battlefield.
Jamaica Plain resident