As residential development spikes and Cambridge’s human population climbs, so too does our canine population. In a city as densely population as ours, such rapid growth increases the potential for conflict between human and canine users of our limited open space resources. For the past several years the City’s Animal Commission (aka Animal Control) has been reviewing its regulations, fines and fees, while in 2013 an Off-Leash Working Group was appointed to study shared-use facilities. The Working Group supports the recommended changes to the ordinance, which were discussed and placed on file at the Council’s June 15th hearing.
All residents dogs are encouraged to review the proposed changes to the ordinance and the working group’s report. In the “stick” department fines for the failure to scoop, license, or leash all would be increased. In addition the Fresh Pond park rangers would gain the authority to enforce the stricter regulations. In the “carrot” department new shared-use hours will go into effect this summer at Joan Lorentz Park (Mid-Cambridge, 8-10 AM), Hoyt Field (Riverside, 6-9 AM), and Greene Rose Heritage Park (Area IV, 6-9 AM).
One of my friends has been known to duck into the bushes at Fresh Pond if she sees the park ranger coming. Before you begin to wonder what kind of company I keep, let me say that this longtime Cantabrigian is a fine upstanding citizen, a nature lover and a doting mother. She just has a mental block about licensing her dog, a minor act of civil disobedience that she readily admits is pointless. Hence, her furtive behavior whenever she spots Ranger Jean on the path ahead; my friend knows full well that she risks a fine for bringing an unlicensed dog to Fresh Pond, but something is holding her back, a little self-defeating demon like Edgar Allan Poe described in his short story, “The Imp of the Perverse.”