Mt. Lebanon should reconsider ban on pets in parks

Published Apr 24, 2013 at 10:32 am (Updated Apr 24, 2013 at 10:32 am)

T here’s no doubt that Mt. Lebanon is an attractive community to live and visit. Beautiful homes with character, a number of community organizations, multiple business districts with eclectic shops and a variety of restaurants and 13 parks, plus recreational facilities, make it an ideal neighborhood for families, young professionals and retirees.

But, it appears that Mt. Lebanon is not an ideal community for dog owners. Of those 13 parks, dogs are only permitted in three of them – Bird Park, located on Beadling Road between Cedar Boulevard and Washington Road; Robb Hollow Park, on Cedar Boulevard near the public works; and as of the April 22 commissioners meeting, Twin Hills Park, located on the northern end of Mt. Lebanon off of Twin Hills Drive.

The park, which had officially banned dogs in 1995, contained a station for waste bags as well as signs prohibiting pets, leading to confusion.

Now that the ordinance for that particular park has been overturned, owners must comply with the ordinance in place when visiting the three parks – have their pets on a leash and clean up after them. This should go without saying. In fact, Pennsylvania state law mandates that owners have control of their dogs at all times, and a leash is the best way to go about that.

The ordinance allowing dogs in Twin Hills Park begs the question, though, why are dogs permitted in so few of the parks? Aren’t parks part of the appeal of the community? It’s worth noting, too, that residents from neighboring communities including Scott Township and Green Tree use the parks. The answer doesn’t seem to be lack of responsible pet owners, as resident Ken Nowacki stated at the meeting: “The people I know at the park are super citizens. They take good care of the place.”

One also has to wonder how many people follow the rules and take their pets only to the three parks where they are permitted, and what the penalty is to those who break the rules, or are simply ignorant to them.

Mt. Lebanon should reconsider it’s ban on pets in parks, and encourage its residents – human and canine – to get outside and use the beautiful facilities that it has to offer.

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