Rewarding responsible behavior in McKinleyville

Jack Durham
Mad River Union

McKINLEYVILLE – Dog owners at Hiller Park may soon get thank-you cards and be entered into a drawing to win prizes if they are spotted picking up dog poop, following leash laws and being responsible.

The idea is to reward responsible behavior in the hope that doing so will discourage irresponsible behavior.

The McKinleyville Recreation Advisory Committee enthusiastically endorsed the idea at a meeting on July 20.

McKinleyville Recreation Director Lesley Frisbee explained that there are two main problems at Hiller Park – people walking their dogs without a leash in areas where leashes are required, and people not picking up their dogs’ poop.

Dogs must be leashed from the Hiller Park parking lot to the split rail fence to the west. Once dog walkers are west of the fence, they’ve entered the dog park area, where pups are free to frolic unrestrained.

Leashes are also required the west of the dog park on the McKinleyville Land Trust property.

According to information provided to the district by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, between Jan. 29, 2016 and April 1, 2017, there were six reported cases of dogs biting dogs at Hiller Park.

During that same time period, there were six reports of dogs biting humans. There were seven reports of loose dogs and two reports of abandoned dogs. The statistics are for cases reported to the Sheriff’s Office and don’t include reports made to the Humboldt County Animal Shelter.

McKinleyville parks and rec employees plan to visit the dog park and will hand out small cards thanking dog owners for being responsible. If the dog owners consent, they’ll have photos taken of them and their dogs, or just their dogs, which will be posted on the district’s Facebook page.

Responsible dog owners will also be entered into a drawing to win prizes, including dog stuff,  donated by local businesses.


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