Last year a grassroots group came together in Cleveland Heights with the goal of getting the ban on dogs in city parks reversed. The Cleveland Heights Dog Project is an offshoot of the Cain Park Neighborhood Association, which was formed in 2011 to address crime in the neighborhoods bordering Cain Park. The group’s long term goal is to someday make all of the city’s six parks open to canines.
The Dog Project asked residents of Cleveland to take an online poll last year. 418 people responded and when the results were tallied, the survey showed that 68% of respondents were in favor of overturning the ban. The pilot program is one step closer to becoming a reality this spring. The Dog Project has met with City Council and Acting City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil to discuss the logistics. Support from Councilman Jason Stein and the Cleveland Heights Police Department has helped get the program to the current stage.
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At a City Council meeting last week, the leashed dog pilot program for Cain Park legislation was revised, stipulating a six-month trial period followed by an evaluation and a determination as to whether or not the program would be extended to Cumberland and Forest Hills parks.
The Dog Project has also suggested the installation of dog waste bag dispensers throughout Cain Park to help pet owners clean up after their dogs. Volunteers are needed to refill the stations and check for dog waste regularly. The committee has estimated that it will cost a total of $1,107.72 to prepare Cain Park for dogs. They have requested that the city contribute half, with the remainder raised through donations.
This Tuesday, February 19, the Cleveland Heights City Council will read the revised ordinance and vote on the program for Cain Park. If the ordinance is passed, the trial period would begin April 15 and run through October 15. Under the pilot program, dogs in the park would be leashed, allowed on the paved paths of Cain Park, and not include breeds deemed dangerous by city code.
The City Council meeting is being held at 7:30 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers at 40 Severance Circle in Cleveland Heights. The Dog Project is asking supporters to please try to attend.
For more information or to volunteer, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 440-478-6226.
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