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Ponnada: Fearing Fido

BY SRI PONNADA | NOVEMBER 28, 2012 6:30 AM

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Man’s best friend might be turning into man’s new mall buddy.

The Iowa City City Council is considering an ordinance requested by the Downtown District that would allow dogs on the Pedestrian Mall, as reported by The Daily Iowan.

The dogs would have to be leashed, and the leashes could be no longer than 6 feet.

There are some restrictions — dogs would not be allowed within 15 feet of the playground equipment, tethered to public or private property, or be near a sidewalk café, outdoor service area or a limestone planter

As much as we may adore our faithful pals, they shouldn’t be allowed on the Ped Mall, because although it is a public space, the mall does not need to be further soiled by the unsanitary conditions that come with some dogs.

Geoff Furin, the assistant to the city manager, noted that cleaning up after pets will be the No. 1 concern when it comes to the new ordinance. At present, city code requires that pet owners pick up all droppings deposited when walking their pets. Violation of this ordinance carries a $100 fine.

But Matthew Theobald, a co-owner and manager of the Soap Opera, 119 E. College St., said that he believes that with more dogs downtown, waste could become even more of an issue.

“We already have a situation where dogs are on the Ped Mall anyway; [the current law] is not enforced,” he said.

People who do not clean up after their pets will lead to unsanitary conditions, where poop is abandoned to be stepped on by unsuspecting pedestrians and played with by unknowing toddlers.

The Ped Mall is a mall, after all. People shop and dine there. Allowing dogs would take away from its aesthetic appeal and potentially wreak havoc. There are plenty of other places in and around the city, such as Thornberry Off-Leash Dog Park, where dog owners can take their pets to play.


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