Charleston’s nickname may be, “the friendly city” but it should consider adding a tagline that reads, “unless you are a dog.” I have been a responsible dog owner for a decade now. I adopted two mutts when I lived in Columbia, Missouri and the town had multiple paved walking trails, parks, dog specific parks, and many free pick-up bag stations with garbage cans near by. Unfortunately Charleston is nothing like this. I have experienced a number of poor dog owners in town. I have seen numerous people not bother to pick up after their pets, I have been accosted by dogs running around without leashes more times than I would like to admit. The other day my husband dislocated his shoulder picking up our dog when a full grown German Shepard ran towards us while on our daily walk. He was, no surprise, not on a leash. I was understandably livid with the owners. Their sense of entitlement was frustrating to me. However it got me thinking about the bigger problem, which is that maybe the citizens of Charleston are bad pet owners because their city has failed in giving them the tools to be good ones. I propose ticketing pet infractions like dogs not on leashes, owners not picking up after dogs, ect… and use that money for a real and decent dog park and bag stations around town. This is a small way we can keep our city nice and reward our good pet owners while paying for it by fining our bad ones. And if things continue at the current rate we’ll have a new dog park in no time.

Keri Cousins, Charleston

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