OP-ED: Is Emeryville a “Dog-Friendly” city?
On the day proclaimed “National Dog Day” (August 26th) I thought it a good time to take inventory of our own city’s dog friendly amenities and ask the question: Is Emeryville “Dog-Friendly”? The recent KQED Forum segment “Is the Bay Area Too Dog Friendly?” set off a debate amongst lovers of our four-legged friends and those that perceive them as a nuisance (or at least their irresponsible owners) if things had gone too far. Across the bridge, there are abundant off-leash dog-parks, doggie “Spas” and even luxury hotels. While our city prepares to dole out $11 million for the Center of Community Life, pet owners might be asking “uh, can we get a sliver of that for us?”. In a city struggling to reverse its course and embrace families, has it ignored likely the most populated segment of the city?
According to the American Humane society website, 46% of US household own at least one dog. In E’ville, a whopping 50% of households are single residents and only 14% of households have school-age children. Stats are not kept on Pet population but even the most conservative estimates of 1/3 of our 10,000+ population would translate to over 3,000 dogs in our 1.2 square mile city.
There’s doesn’t seem to be a shortage of boarding, supply and grooming facilities … just areas to let our canine companions run free. The recently renovated Temescal Creek Park only now in 2013 brings to Emeryville its first off-leash Dog-Run. It’s a nice gesture for Dog-lovers but it is a minuscule, mulch-filled “run” (not a park). The open-space artery of our city, Doyle-Hollis Park, does not allow dogs. The latest Archstone Development (since acquired by Equity Residential) Parkside Apartments on Powell & Hollis promises an addition to this “A lushly landscaped park adjacent to the apartment community. The public park will be the first and only off-leash dog park within the City of Emeryville, offering residents a fun, unique entertainment venue for their furry friends – and their dogs!” They also make mention of the inclusion of a “Pet-Spa”. The “Mecca” of all East Bay dog Parks, Point Isabel in neighboring Berkeley, is a reminder of a city that takes its love for dogs seriously! The forthcoming Sherwin-Williams development and its promised two-acres of open space may be the city’s biggest opportunity to create a true off-leash, Dog-Friendly “Park”.
And what about bringing your dogs along with you? Emeryville staple Rudy’s Can’t fail has a strict policy forbidding dogs in its patio area leaving only a handful of restaurants with outdoor areas that can accommodate canines. By my count: Prizefighter, Bucci’s & Aquarius Cafe (my personal favorite). The website BringFido.com also list Pasta Pomodora at Bat Street. Please chime-in if you know more!
There are arguments that say we may have already gone overboard for our pets (I think we’ve all stepped in this “argument” before) but fundamentally I believe dog interaction promotes neighbor interaction (The same way that parks with children’s play structures promote interaction amongst parents). I often state that I didn’t really meet many of my neighbors until I adopted a dog and had to walk her outside 3-4 times per day. People are just more approachable when they have a (well-behaved) dog with them. They are the ultimate “Ice-Breaker”. Many studies have spotlighted the benefits of owning a pet including companionship, the reduction of stress & how they encourage outdoor activity … sounds like things the city should support!
So what are your thoughts on Emeryville’s current level of “Dog-Friendliness”?
If you like doggie pics, be sure to follow us on Instagram @EvilleEye and tag your own pet pics #EvillePets to show up in the gallery below!