More Arboretum observations

Terry Wells seems to think that by questioning the veracity of reported events and people’s complaints about unleashed dogs, and throwing up unrelated issues, he can make the problem of unleashed dogs go away.

  1. The heron attack was witnessed; the attackers were unleashed domestic dogs, not coyotes (which have been reported in the Arboretum, but never in the area of the ponds).
  2. Regardless of Mr. Wells’ theories on the behavior of “pack animals,” there have been numerous reports of groups of unleashed dogs chasing or surrounding bikers and walkers in the Arboretum, and sometimes causing injury.
  3. Many would agree that some bike riders travel on Arboretum roadways at reckless speeds. (The speed limit for any vehicle within the Arboretum is 10 mph) But what does that have to do with unleashed dogs?
  4. On occasion, parents may not properly mind their offspring, allowing them to run through flowerbeds or climb specimen trees. But Massachusetts State Law 140, sec. 173 and Boston City Ordinance sec. 16-1.9 require DOGS, not children, to be leashed on public property.
  5. The billboards being displayed at all Arboretum entrances clearly state, “The Arnold Arboretum always welcomes leashed dogs.”  What is it about this repeated message that Mr. Wells doesn’t get?  His assertion that “the Arboretum is obsessed with banning all dogs from the park” simply isn’t true.
  6. His friend’s suggestion that “proper dog walkers” may make the grounds safer for visitors in off hours is likely true.  Unleashed dogs, however, are neither proper nor legal.

The current, courteous effort to encourage dog owners to respect the Arboretum and it’s many visitors, and to obey the law, does not make the grounds “a battlefield.” The conflict arises from irresponsible dog owners who use the grounds as an unleashed dog park.  That violates the law and ignores consideration of the Arboretum; it’s staff, it’s world famous collection, and the many neighbors, visitors and proper dog walkers and their dogs that enjoy and respect the place.

Bob Mayer

Jamaica Plain resident

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