Several weeks ago fellow community bloggers Debi and Amanda from the Kirksville Tourism Department wrote a post about what a pet friendly town Kirksville is. I appreciated their post, and agree that this is more and more true. Last weekend, however, when spending some time downtown on the courthouse square , I couldn’t help but notice the signs that said: “PLEASE KEEP PETS OFF GRASS.”
Seriously? That’s discouraging. Why not just say“PLEASE PICK UP AFTER YOUR PET”?
I’ve been glad to see a few new dispensers around hiking/biking paths in town that offer dog waste bags. The dispensers are a friendly way to publicize the expectation that people should clean up after their pets.
In fact, this isn’t just an expectation, it’s part of the Kirksville Code (Section 5-17): “The owner, or person in control, of every animal shall be responsible for the removal of any excreta deposited by his or her animal on public walks, recreation areas, the public right-of-way, or private property.”
That’s why I was so surprised to see the signs on the square. This area looks a lot like a park, with its green space, historical markers, and picnic tables. Why not encourage its responsible use by the many people who live nearby? Whenever I walk my dogs in a town's downtown area, the green space around county and city buildings is an obvious place to let them sniff and explore. If I clean up after my dogs, what is the harm?
I imagine that the signs were set up in response to irresponsible dog owners who didn’t pick up. But now they have ruined things for the rest of us.
Responsible dog owners need to start becoming more visible! Pick up that mess with a flourish and a smile! Carry those dog waste bags proudly! Soon enough your neighbors will be happy to see you coming. And maybe those signs will come down.