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Poll: What Kind of Dog Rules Do You Want?

Are current rules too stringent, or would you like to see more active education of dog owners?

Dog lovers last week over talks of amending Sonoma's municipal code to strengthen rules: specifically, rules regarding Pit Bulls. 

Ultimately the city , asking for feedback on plans to increase community outreach events for pet owners and low-cost spay/neuter clinics.

Almost 60 of you weighed-in on the follow-up article, sharing it almost 300 times on facebook.

Opinions are diverse. While most who came before the council were horrified by the idea of increased dog rules, a number said they feel fear when they encounter neighborhood dogs.

Though Sonoma is a known as a dog-friendly place, many dog owners have complained that banning dogs from the Plaza and several trails gives another impression.

So, we'd like to make your opinion's official: What changes would you like to see in Sonoma's dog rules?

Ralph Hutchinson September 14, 2011 at 11:22 PM
I prefer to keep the ban on dogs on the Plaza (I would extend to retail establishments surrounding and places like Sonoma Plaza Shopping Centers, Maxwell Village and Sonoma Marketplace) frankly I think it should be extended to any high density area like public events, etc. I also am not in favor of having them at food service venues (restaurants, markets, grocers, other events) or around picnic or dining areas. Well disciplined dogs, on leashes with their responsible owners away from crowded places are perfectly free to enjoy Sonoma as do we all.
Rebecca Stanger September 14, 2011 at 11:45 PM
I voted for more free spay and neuter but I want to clarify that I do NOT support s/n when it only targets pit bulls. Free S/N should be for ALL dogs in the community-and cats as well!
Rebecca Stanger September 14, 2011 at 11:48 PM
Clearly Ralph doesn't have a dog, nor does it appear that he likes them much at all. My dog visits many of the stores around the square--she stays on her leash and she is an absolute sweetheart--the stores we enter keep treats just for dogs. Why should they stop, Ralph? They love my girl and I'm sure they love the many other dogs who stop in as well. If you don't like dogs--don't have one. But stop trying to limit MY dog's enjoyment of Sonoma. She isn't hurting anyone.
Patrick Bohler September 15, 2011 at 01:15 AM
Hold owners responsible for their dogs actions, low cost and free spay/neuter clinics for ALL dogs and cats and a shelter overhaul starting at the top. It's obvious the same old business as usual approach isn't working.
wyatt oftedal September 15, 2011 at 03:18 AM
I wish people would keep their dogs at home. As a owner of a dog I would not think of taking him on a public outing, our time together is on our walks and at the dog park. Not everyone enjoys your dog. Oh FYI my son was mauled by someones family dog so yes i know what that friendly wont bite anyone family dog can do.
wyatt oftedal September 15, 2011 at 07:10 AM
ok i get it this is where people vent and do personal attacks sorry you took it personal Patrick Bohler.
Linda Smith September 15, 2011 at 03:48 PM
I voted for free s/n clinics, and want to add that I would love to see Sonoma County a total no kill county with free education classes for dog owners.
T.M. September 15, 2011 at 04:59 PM
More spay and neuter clinics; education for the public dog owners and NON dog owners alike! And, make at least one-side of the Plaza a dog friendly place. Allow leashed dogs in the plaza with their responsible owners. Set up poop bag stations so people will have what they need to clean up after their pets so waste will not be an issue. Lastly dogs need more off-leash space in the Valley. Dog parks are not enough and they aren't an optimal environment for all dogs.
Alexis Fitts September 15, 2011 at 05:38 PM
Wyatt, thanks for your comments. I believe Patrick was criticizing your argument and not making a personal attack. Have a look at the Patch comments policy if you have any questions on what's permitted in this space.
Rena B September 15, 2011 at 07:35 PM
I agree with Linda Smith said just above. I don't have a dog right now, but I enjoy seeing other people with their dogs. It would be sad if dogs were virtually banned in public areas. Well behaved on leash dogs should be welcome in many places. In some places in Europe such as Switzerland, on leash dogs are even permitted to ride on public buses with their owners.
Alexis Fitts September 15, 2011 at 08:31 PM
Wyatt, I've removed this comment. Please read the Patch guidelines on name-calling.
Patrick Bohler September 16, 2011 at 12:41 AM
Wyatt, it's not personal, it's common sense. As to the dog that mauled your son, do you recall the breed/type? What was the outcome?
Patrick Bohler September 16, 2011 at 12:45 AM
Alexis, I will admit I was heavy handed in my response. I do tend to edit my comments quite a bit before responding, yet there are those that still ruffle feathers. I really can't sugar coat my feelings on issues like this. I've got to be honest and express myself.
wyatt oftedal September 16, 2011 at 01:33 AM
Yes Patrick it was a mix breed and the outcome was not good part of his upper leg is gone, I did fine out later that the dog had bit before. Having always had a dog as a family pet I am happy that my son does not feel angar towards dogs in fact he and sadie (our dog) are best friends
Patrick Bohler September 16, 2011 at 02:08 AM
I'm glad this didn't leave your son with a fear of dogs. I'm sure you were a big part of that process with him. Sometimes kids don't get over it. I have recently met a person who as an adult, is still coming to terms with her own incident. My two Pit Bulls have been a part of her healing. I do hope the owners were held accountable both financially by paying your incurred medical bills and were made to pay a hefty fine. A little jail time for being a second offense would have made an impact.

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