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Foster Dog Beach Badly Deteriorating, Unsafe

beach-300x220Chicago is known for being an extremely dog friendly city. Take a walk along the lake and you are bound to pass several pet owners walking their dogs along the path or heading toward one of the dog beaches. Our city has over 20 dog parks, pet dedicated businesses, a few dog-friendly beaches, and many local shops that have water bowls outside (sometimes even treats!) for our loved furry friends. Chicago dog beach visits have steadily grown over the years, and the Foster dog beach as well as the Montrose-Wilson dog beach have had quite a bit of wear and tear. With limited up-keep and continued deterioration, are these beaches becoming too unsafe for dogs and their owners?

Chicago dog beaches are intended to be an enclosed area in which dogs can be off leash and frolic with other pups in the water and on the sand. But regular visitors have been extremely vocal about the lack of attention given to dog beaches. Many find them unsafe for both humans and dogs. The sand and shoreline has shifted a great deal and as a result, the boundaries that used to keep the dog beach separate from the people beach is no longer there. Dogs have been able to escape to the other side, onto the path where runners and bikers are cruising along, and find ways out of the designated areas. When a dog gets out of the defined beach boundary, it can cause quite a hectic scene with owners running around trying to catch up to their dogs. There have been reports of dogs escaping and being hit by bikers and cars, accidents that could be avoided if the dog beaches were better maintained and fenced.

DogBeach

Signs from the Chicago Park District remind owners to clean up after their dogs, and there are garbage receptacles located at the entry to dog beaches. But these receptacles are sometimes filled to the brim due to lack of a regular garbage pick-up.

Dog owner and resident Jane McConville has sent several letters to the Mayor’s office demanding action. “Dog owners share 21 dog parks throughout the city and also pay dog license fees and park permit fees in addition to Cook County dog licenses and park permit fees,” McConville wrote. “Why can’t you also set aside some of OUR tax money to make dog beaches safe for dogs and humans alike. The beaches used to be wonderful places for dogs to exercise and play and it’s a shame that the park district no longer takes responsibility for safety and upkeep.”

Are you a regular visitor to any of Chicago’s dog beaches? Does the space feel unsafe for you or your dogs? Would you like to see anything done differently by the city to keep the dog beaches fun and safe for our four-legged companions?


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