I, too, was highly dismayed when I read last week’s letter to the editor in response to the article: “Dog waste at Yorktown field will result in fine.” (Dec. 3, Page 1)
I moved to Yorktown in 1997 and by 2000 was actively involved in running the Yorktown Youth Soccer Club (YYSC), a not-for-profit organization that provides soccer instruction and league play to many of the children in Yorktown. The Jack DeVito Veterans Memorial Field is an extremely important field for our club. This field has been one of the few town fields given to the YYSC to house its soccer programs. Every child in the club will step foot onto this field during the course of their membership in the club. The field is used for our pre-k and kindergarten programs on Saturday mornings during the fall and spring seasons, and many of our travel games. There are several hundred people on the fields, walking the tracks, exercising or just relaxing on one of the benches that run along the track on any given Saturday or Sunday throughout the day.
Since 2000, the traffic in and around the field has grown exponentially, especially the dog population. More and more people started to take their dogs to their children’s games and practices. Others meet early in the morning to walk their dogs. People who use the vet across the street have been known to walk their dogs around the track after procedures or stays at the hospital and others bring dogs to the town events (car shows, movies, music concerts, Relay for Life). This all sounds so precious, but it is not.
First and foremost, the town has an existing town code that prohibits dog waste in public parks and play areas, essentially eliminating dogs from the parks. The school district does not allow dogs on their property either, but I do not see anyone complaining to them.
Second, misleading signage was implemented years ago adding to the problem. Curb your dog signs were posted all around the track, but even with this mechanism in place, people were irresponsible and did not pick up the poop 100 percent of the time.
Thirdly, their is proof that whether or not the poop is scooped up, it creates a health hazard. Plus we have not addressed the issue of urination all over the fields, benches and on the new workout equipment. The odor can be quite vile and this, too, is unhealthy.
Fourth, there have been incidents of dogs reacting viciously towards other dogs and scaring the young children. No pet owner can guarantee their dog will not act out in a negative way.
Overall, I am dismayed that people cannot see the value of preserving a great gathering place for “people,” free of dogs and the messes they leave behind. Young children should not be running to their parents on the sidelines of their soccer games after falling into a pile of poop while playing, all because a few dog owners decided to bring their dogs to a park in a town where the law says they cannot. Follow the rules and preserve the park for the kids, as they are animals too.
Lastly, I would like to thank Pat McKechnie for her commitment to this problem. Pat did not act alone as people have written; she had my backing and the backing of almost 1,000 members in our soccer club. People should be thanking her for correcting a wrong.
If you see something wrong say something to make it right
President, Yorktown Youth Soccer Club