Woof, woof. That's the sound of our dog agreeing with the title of this blog post. For some unknown reason, parks in Salem are open, but the Minto Brown off-leash dog park is closed.
I took this photo today at the entrance to the parking lot that serves the dog park. My wife and I, along with Mooka, our dog, were disappointed to see this barricade and sign saying "This Area is Closed Until Further Notice."
But it wasn't a total surprise, since I'd read this letter to the editor in the Sunday Statesman Journal.
Closure of dog park disappointing
I was stunned recently when we went to the dog park at Minto-Brown Island Park and found it barricaded.
This has been one of the few activities where we have been able to get exercise and have social interaction while maintaining social distance.
I think it is counterproductive to eliminate healthy opportunities that represent less danger than going to the store. And anyone who doesn’t see this as essential doesn’t own a dog.
I totally agree with Huff. Especially since right next to the barricade and closed sign was this contradictory notice.
OK, but that already was being done by visitors to the dog park, as far as my wife and I could tell based on our visits to the dog park before it was closed. So again, what's the reason for closing it?
If you agree that the dog park should be open, tell this to City Manager Steve Powers, members of the City Council (including Mayor Bennett), and other city officials by sending a message to them: [email protected]
Grocery shoppers are touching items that other people may have touched, yet grocery stores are open. Sure, at the dog park dogs run up to strangers and often they get patted. But it's difficult for me to understand how this is a greater risk than touching a can of beans that someone else may have handled.
A few weeks ago the Washington Post had a story, "How to pet dogs during the coronavirus pandemic." Basic message: don't worry very much about it.
Given the unknowns about the disease, experts recommend that people infected with the coronavirus stay away from pets, as they should from people. So the most conservative approach would be to refrain from touching others’ dogs, because its owner could be asymptomatic.
But based on available evidence, there’s little reason to avoid petting, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. (If practicing social distancing, make sure the owner is on the other end of a leash at least six feet long.)
“We’re not overly concerned about people contracting covid-19 through contact with dogs and cats,” said Gail Golab, the AVMA’s chief veterinary officer.
Environmental contamination via surfaces appears to be a secondary route of transmission, and “the virus survives best on smooth surfaces, such as countertops and doorknobs,” Golab said. “Porous materials, such as pet fur, tend to absorb and trap pathogens, making it harder to contract them through touch.”
We only encountered a few people during our late afternoon visit to the dog park, which usually is a popular place on a sunny Sunday. I did ask the couple on the right side of the photo above, who were throwing a ball for their dog, whether they thought the dog park should be open rather than closed.
"Absolutely," the man said. He told me that exercising dogs is OK under Gov. Brown's "Stay Home, Save Lives" order, so he didn't understand why the City of Salem has closed the Minto Brown dog park.
There certainly was no problem with maintaining a 6 foot distance between unrelated people at the dog park, because the place was almost deserted. However, the rest of Minto Brown park was busy. When we took our dog for a walk on some paved trails, we passed many other people with their leashed dogs.
And on the paved trails there isn't a whole lot of room between people going in different directions. So it makes no sense to allow people to walk their dogs on a narrow trail, but forbid them to use the dog park with much more available open space between people and their pets.