Willow Oaks Park Off-Leash Dog Compromise sign now

Dear Menlo Park City Council Members,

We are Menlo Park residents and users of the Willow Oaks playground, park, and dog run. We are writing to you to express our opposition to the proposal recently approved by the Parks and Recreation Commission for an all-day, off-leash, unfenced dog park at Willow Oaks Park.

Our park is a small, neighborhood park that is used by many children, families, residents, and dog owners from the area. We appreciate and support the community-friendly, intermingling of families and dog owners at the park, and would like to see a compromise proposal adopted that meets the needs of all the users of this park.

Our objections to the Parks & Recreation Commission proposal include the following:

Willow Oaks Park is too small to be the only all-day, unfenced dog park in the city of Menlo Park. Our park, kids, dogs, neighbors, and already-busy residential streets cannot support off-leash dogs from all over the city all day long.

The layout of the park demands a separation of some kind between the dogs and kids either through designated, limited off-leash hours or a fenced dog run. Willow Oaks Park is a small park with a much-used tot-lot playground and a preschool on the premises. To access the tot-lot or the school from the neighborhood, one must walk through the area used by off-leash dogs.

If the park is dedicated to off-leash, unfenced dogs all day, then residents of the neighborhood will not be able to use the grassy open area, park benches, or paths for walking, biking, frisbee, picnicking, etc. Dog owners and other neighbors should be able to share this neighborhood resource.

The Parks & Recreation Commission voted against off-leash dog activity in four other city parks, citing concerns about noise, park wear-and-tear, and mixing off-leash dogs too closely with children. Yet it ignored these concerns for Willow Oaks Park and proposed it as the citys only all-day unfenced dog park with no separation between off-leash dogs and other park users. This despite the fact that our park has the closest proximity of kids and dogs of any the Commission considered.

We respectfully urge the Council to reject the Commissions misguided proposal and instead approve a plan for either (1) an all-day, fenced, off-leash dog run, or (2) designated hours for dual-use off-leash dog activity at Willow Oaks Park (e.g., 7-9 am and 5 pm to dusk in summer or 4 pm to dusk in winter). Also, if a limited-hours dual-use model is approved, the city must delineate clear boundaries for the off-leash dog activity to ensure safe access to other parts of the park, and enforcement of the hours and clean-up to keep the park clean and healthy for all.

Finally, the city should designate other off-leash dog areas across Menlo Park, and not only in our small neighborhood park.

Residents of the Willows came together in the Parks & Recreation Commissions thorough planning process to support a compromise that would allow off-leash dogs, young children, and other residents to enjoy and share the park together. Please respect our neighborhoods input and reject the uninformed changes that were made in the eleventh hour at the Commissions meeting. We need a fenced off-leash dog area or at least designated off-leash hours to ensure that all residents of the Willows can enjoy a safe, friendly, and clean neighborhood park.

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Latest Signatures

  • 22 December 201550. Woodson M
    I support this petition
  • 21 December 201549. Christine F
    I support this petition
  • 19 December 201548. Fred B
    I support this petition
  • 30 November 201547. Patti P
    I support this petition
  • 25 November 201546. Jennifer L
    We have two small children, one of whom attends the preschool in Willow Oaks - both use the park on a daily basis. We adamently oppose the all-day, unfenced, off-leash dog park proposal in Willow Oaks. It is an irresponsible proposal that quite clearly do
  • 18 November 201545. Lindamouricz Bryant
    I support this petition
  • 12 November 201544. Jeffrey S
    We live near Willows Park. It's to small for unrestricted off leash dog use City Menlo Park
  • 08 November 201543. Sally F
    I support this petition
  • 19 August 201542. Joanie G
    I support this petition
  • 13 August 201541. Derek F
    I live near Willow Oaks Park, and my daughter once attended the preschool there. I am strongly opposed to any unfenced off-leash dog use in the park: we have had a visitor's child harassed by an illegally off-leash dog there, and safe use for humans must
  • 12 August 201540. Heather G
    I support this petition
  • 31 July 201539. Ray C
    I support this petition
  • 12 July 201538. Omar K
    This park is small and cannot support all of Menlo Park. I think any off-leashe dog area should be fenced. City Menlo Park
  • 30 June 201537. Ghazala S
    I support this petition
  • 16 June 201536. Juanita B
    I support this petition
  • 02 June 201535. Andrew Toddc
    I support this petition
  • 24 May 201534. Amy M
    I support this petition
  • 22 May 201533. Jacqueline L
    I support this petition
  • 04 May 201532. Kathryn C
    I support this petition
  • 20 April 201531. Mary Bethr
    I support this petition
  • 19 April 201530. Bernice Vanderm
    I support this petition
  • 01 April 201529. Kristen M
    I support this petition
  • 01 April 201528. Brooke F
    I support this petition
  • 22 March 201527. Matthew K
    As a Willows resident with 2 small children, I strongly object to having Willows Oak Park an Off-Leash park. It is a safety hazard to the many children that play in this park and children's playground. City Menlo Park
  • 19 March 201526. Benjamin L
    I support this petition
  • 25 February 201525. Karel S
    I had three unpleasant encounters with off-leash dogs.I strongly oppose any regulation allowing off-leash dogs in area which is not fence off. The City would be legally responsible for any incidents if the City Council approve such law. City Menlo Park
  • 12 February 201524. Nancy S
    I support this petition

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Rose GomezBy:
Culture and SocietyIn:
Petition target:
Menlo Park City Council

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