All benches should have planks too close for a little paw or leg to slide through.
Hurrah! Remember this post? I sent a letter to the Parks and Rec Department of Nanaimo about it. (Richard Harding is the director of Parks, Recreation and Culture and my new best friend)
Dear Mr. Harding,
My name is Julie MacTire and I got your email address from the City of Nanaimo website. I am writing to you about an incident that happened last Sunday (January 31) at the Nanaimo dog park. My small dog jumped up on one of the park benches that happened to have widely spaced planks and his right hind leg slipped through when he tried to jump down and got caught. This has caused a severe muscle strain, perhaps some tearing in the affected leg that is taking him some time to get over.
As a result, I’ve become concerned about those benches that have widely spaced planks. While we discourage our dogs from jumping up on these seats, it happens sometimes before the owner can warn the dog away. Also, there are a number of parents with small children who keep their children on the seats to avoid an accidental collision with rambunctious dogs and I fear they could be at risk of an accident as well.
I am wondering if you can give me any information as to what I should do to put forth a petition to the City to have the benches replaced or covered by material that prevents small legs from getting stuck. I would also be interested in taking an active role in fundraising for the modification to the dog park benches if that is a feasible option.
I got this reply early this morning:
Thank you Julie for your email and sorry to hear about your dog.
I have copied your email to Jeff Ritchie who is Senior Manager of Parks who will get in touch with you.
I am sure we can work something out to modify the benches.
Then, just now, I recieved this from Mr. Ritchie, another new best friend:
Julie, thanks for pointing this out to us. I hope your pooch is recovering. We will replace the boards on these benches with wider planks so as to prevent this happening again. Thanks for your e-mail.
Wow! I was expecting… I don’t know, a long time between emails… an argument… certainly not a prompt response that promised immediate attention. I don’t want to carol the City of Nanaimo’s praises too loudly until the benches are actually fixed, but if their maintenance department is anything like their standard for communication, I think this issue will be resolved very quickly.
I wrote back to each gentleman, thanking them for their timely response to my email and attention to the matter.
So far, this is a great example of the things that can be done if you bring the attention of the powers-that-be to issues in your local dog park with a polite letter.