PAWS pushes for on-campus dog park

Facilities and Planning employee Mike Brody was working on campus three weeks ago when a poodle bit him on the leg.

Facilities and Planning employee Mike Brody was working on campus three weeks ago when a poodle bit him on the leg. The dog’s owner was allowing her dog to wander around off-leash near the PSU putting green when the incident occurred.

According to Brody, the woman explained that there was nowhere on campus for her dog to be off-leash.

On his way to the hospital to have his injured leg treated, Brody realized there was an opportunity for something positive to come from the situation.

“My whole thing is I want to make some lemonade out of these lemons,” he said. “I don’t like getting bit, but maybe it’s time to fix this issue.”

After seeking support from Facilities he realized the best way to garner support for the dog park would be to rally student interest in the project.

Brody approached the ASPSU Senate, who then referred him to Ashley McClain, president of the new student group Portland Animal Welfare for Students.

Unbeknownst to Brody, PAWS and the Senate had been discussing the possibility of pursuing a dog park at PSU for the past few months.

“We’re still in the talking stages, basically trying to figure out if there is student interest for a dog park on campus,” McClain said.

According to McClain, the hope would be to get supplies donated, find volunteers willing to participate in the maintenance and ensure that there would be very little cost to PSU students.

While surveying students, McClain said she found that most students that live off campus do not bring their dogs to campus because there is no place for them to roam.

While University Housing only allows students to have cats and aquarium animals, some of the non-PSU housing near campus allow small dogs.

“There are students that have dogs on campus, or there are students that want to participate on campus and want to do things with their dogs on campus,” McClain said. “It would be great to have an area where they could walk their dogs, enjoy the scenery on campus and enjoy seeing their friends on campus that have dogs.”

According to McClain, there are still many unanswered questions regarding the possibility of the dog park, and they are still very much in the planning stages.

Currently, PAWS is circulating a petition endorsing the on-campus dog park. It is also attempting to get ASPSU to support the idea and possibly to include the plan in the upcoming student government elections.

In addition, McClain noted that it is also possible that Facilities will assume responsibility of establishing the park.

“If Facilities and Planning take it over then it will be their responsibility to upkeep, to maintain and to enforce rules in the dog park,” she said. “If it becomes a student group area then it will be up to the student group to do it.”

Hosting a dog park on campus could also create issues with animal control. All animals would need to licensed and animal control may have to have a presence on campus to regulate liability issues, McClain said.

While PAWS and ASPSU are still coping with the logistics of a campus dog park, Brody has been approaching students with dogs in the Park Blocks about the issue.

“I’m trying to get everybody talking about it.” Brody said, adding that he believes a dog park would be beneficial for everyone.

“There would be a place for people to take their dogs and their dogs wouldn’t be out biting me,” he said.

Last year PAWS sponsored a picnic where students were connected with low cost spay and neuter facilities, as well as access to low cost vaccines.

PAWS is sponsoring a pet food lab and nutrition class from 5 to 7 p.m. today in 247 Smith Memorial Student Union.

“We’re really trying to be a resource for students who have pets,” McClain said.

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