Letter: Off-leash dogs in Arboretum

I was sad and angry to learn that off-leash dogs had killed a great blue heron in the Arnold Arboretum. This heron, a long-time resident, was one of the finest birds in the Arboretum, which is JP’s great treasure.

Off-leash dogs have proliferated beyond control in the Arboretum. Peters Hill, in particular, has become known far and wide as a dog playground. As a runner, I’ve been harassed by off-leash dogs several times and bitten more than once. Killing wildlife is the last straw.

Part of the problem is lax enforcement by the City’s Animal Control and the Arboretum. Animal Control should expand its patrols, issue citations to scofflaw owners, and escort them and their dogs out of the gates. The Arboretum should credibly threaten to ban all dogs. This would encourage responsible owners to pressure their irresponsible fellows to leash their dogs.

If off-leash dogs persist, I’d regretfully urge the Arboretum to ban all dogs. I have no problem with leashed dogs, but the Arboretum exists for the cultivation and protection of nature and its enjoyment by people. If dogs threaten that mission, they’ll need to go.

Bob Mathews

Jamaica Plain resident

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