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What do you think about sharing use of Nealon baseball field with dogs?

Original post made by parkuser, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park, on Mar 17, 2007

I would like to hear feedback from Menlo Park residents on the advisability of the current shared usage of the Nealon baseball field with off leash dogs. There have been complaints of foul odors in the dugout and messy outfields becuz of the dogs. Anyone care to comment on the current state of affairs at Nealon? Also, any ideas as to how better to address the dog vs baseball dilemma?


Comments (9)

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Posted by SF Giants Dog Days Fan
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 17, 2007 at 8:41 pm

The conflict is not between baseball players and dog owners but between the bureaucracy and inaction. When Nealon was renovated, the dog park users requested a water supply near the dug out and double gates on the dug outs. But these requests were ignored by the city of Menlo Park. Guess there was not enough money in Menlo Park's $3.6 Million surplus. Many dog owners then banded together and raised money to add double gates to the dug outs to protect the dug outs. However, the city has yet to act on this offer to pay for the gates. The issue of double gates was raised in teh December City Council meeting but there has been no decision from the City to install the gates at no cost. That was four months ago

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Posted by parkuser
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 17, 2007 at 11:24 pm

I was at Nealon today and walked around the field. There was dog poop in three spots in the infield and one in the dugout. I feel that the dog owners have not lived up to their promise to keep the field clean for the kids playing baseball there. I think the dog owners need to find another place for their dogs because after all a baseball field is meant for playing baseball-without fear of landing in dog droppings. sincerely yours, parkuser

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Posted by Dana Hendrickson
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 18, 2007 at 9:52 am

Instead of fighting for exclusive privileges for the use of the playing field at Nealon Park all who use it need to take reasonable steps to enhance the experiences of others and minimize their own impact. This can be done both individually and collectively.

As a regular user of the playing field at Nealon Park for both dog-related and sports activities I am proud of the fact that our community has figured out a way for our limited public areas to be shared for multiple uses by our citizens. Without exception EVERY use of the playing field by a particular group or team impacts others. And competing users will naturally raise concerns. The good news is that reasonable and caring people can and should handle all "problems" in positive and productive ways.

Most Menlo Park dog owners do help each other minimize the impact of their dogs on Nealon and many have approached the city with constructive ideas that would incur little or no expense for the MP community. I will continue to do so, welcome suggestions from all parties including critics, and continue to expect our city government to be responsive to all reasonable requests.

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Posted by baseball dogs
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 18, 2007 at 2:04 pm

I have dual interests as a parent with kids who use the baseball field and as a dog owner who frequents the dog park. While it is not a perfect system by any means, during dog park hours, the dog owners are vigilent about making sure that people clean up their dog poops and do work hard to keep the fields clean (including cleaning up leftover people trash which they come across as they use the field). I feel that it is more likely the individuals who take their dogs to the fields off-hours and don't have the dog park community enforcement who may be the offenders. Eliminating the dog park hours may just increase this problem rather than solve it.

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Posted by Rick
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 18, 2007 at 11:40 pm

There are ~10,000 dog owners in Menlo Park, many of whom use the city parks off hours. That's a few thousand more dog owners than ball players. That said, The Dog Owners' Group of the Menlo Park Area that uses the park in the morning is a responsible, self policing group of 100 owners, park users and families. The greenery makes one forget that we live in an urban area and litter is everyones' problem. In addition to removing anything that random off hours dog walkers leave behind, the Dog Owners' Group regularly removes beer cans, bottle caps, cigarettes, rocks, broken glass, candy wrappers, sunflower seed shells and chewing tobacco tins from the field at Nealon park. The Dog Owners' Group has also repaired the broken dugout gates, twice, after no other groups or city employees took the initiative. (and I'm sure the ball players did not realize this fact as this is the first public mention of it). I have a dual use interest in the park and would welcome some teamwork between the baseball and softball leagues and the Dog Owners' Group. I also have little time or interest in returning to this web page. So those who want to blow wind and blog can do so here. (I probably won't ever see your comments.) Those who prefer to actually do something can contact the Dog Owners' group via Web Link so that we can figure out how to collaborate in our effort to optimize the park.

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Posted by Observation
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Mar 19, 2007 at 9:40 am

I have encountered the dog groups at La Entrada as well as at Nealon. The dog groups do take care of the fields. That being said, the policing of the dog poop at both places needs to be improved. There has to be a higher standard of care for poop clean up than "litter". Dog poop potential contains serious bacteria that kids should not be exposed to. Great that the dog groups clean up litter. But making an equivalence of litter to dog poop is disingenuous. I feel it is incumbent on the dog groups to have a higher standard of care and to police the area for "all" dog poop - not just their own dog. While coaching teams I have personally stepped into poop left on the fields. When I asked the dog people to come to the area and remove the poop I was met with some resistance ("it’s not ours"). That cannot be the attitude. Also, please cease and desist with making an equivalence between litter clean up and dog poop clean up. It is not the same thing. I resent the unstated implication of the finger pointing at the sports and family users.

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Posted by parkuser
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 19, 2007 at 8:53 pm

I have begun to realize that in reality every park and school yard within the City is used as an unofficial dog park. I think that are two things the City should consider:

-remove the dog users from Nealon and return the baseball field to its original purpose
-enforce the leash laws that are posted at every park and school yard in Menlo Park and issue citations for illegal usage
-allow limited off leash hours in every park in the City so as to share the burden

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Posted by Thomas
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Mar 31, 2007 at 11:10 am

I just came back from Seminary Oaks park where I had to frantically pick up my 2 year old daughter because a large dog came chasing after her. Whether it was in play or not, it was not a risk I was willing to take after two other experiences where she was knocked over and terrified. What made this more of an unacceptable experience for me was that the owner remained sitting on the bench simply calling her dog back. I layed into her to get her dog on a leash immediately. She still didn't see the sense of urgency so I reminded her that it was the 'law' and it is posted in the park. She claimed it was not a 'Federal' law, only a city ordinance. Not sure what that means - are these leash laws really enforceable in Menlo Park?

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Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Apr 2, 2007 at 11:51 am

Leash laws are 100% enforceable. Call the Menlo Park police next time this happens.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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