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Bronxville Split Over Dog Park

BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – Two schools of thought have stalled the addition of a dog park to Scout Field in Bronxville. Mayor Mary Marvin, whose attempts to create a space for dogs to roam free there have been rebuffed several times by residents, is now asking Bronxville to step up and make it happen.

“I’m totally in support of a dog run,” Marvin said. “In fact we’ve been trying to get the county to use a part of Scout Field and make a legitimate dog park, but my understanding is that there has been resistance to the idea.”

One of the residents resisting is Kate Fairchild, who organizes the Bronxville Pug Walk every Sunday at Scout Field .

“I believe dog runs invite trouble unless you can specify dog size,” she said. “Fights do break out. Big dogs feel threatened by so many little dogs and vice versa.”

Marvin said a large number of dog owners from Bronxville and other communities use Scout Field and let their dogs roam without leashes, which is a freedom they have not wanted to give up.

“They are very vocal about not having a confined space for their dogs,” Marvin said. “It’s not safe for our dogs. There have been dogs that have been attacked and maimed. … So I’m in total favor of a dog-park concept instead of letting all dogs, whether you know they are nice or not, run free.”

The Bronxville Pug Walk has been meeting since 2003. Until now members of the popular group have made do by putting down blankets and chairs so their pugs don’t roam far. When there have been bigger dogs off their leashes, the group moves closer to Bronxville Lake, where before Scout Field they had been meeting for years.

Fairchild says that one reason there hasn’t been a dog run in Bronxville is that 60 percent of dog owners don’t pick up after their dogs.

“It’s true that is a problem,” said Maggie Schmelt, a Bronxville resident and owner of two beagles. “If we did have a dog park then we’d be the ones responsible of keeping it clean. There’s nothing wrong with that. Out here we have to be the eyes and ears and make sure that no one is abusing our park.”

“We have an excellent group of members,” said Fairchild, whose two pugs, Chloe and Gracie, are well-known in the community. “Most dog owners are very responsible, but you will find a clueless owner every now and again.”

For now Marvin, a proud owner of a dachshund, has put the issue on a back burner. “If residents want a dog park I want them to step up and have a little bit of a united voice. Champion the cause, put together a petition, and I can pass it on to the county” she said.

Marvin added that if plans for a dog park would be approved, the location for it would be away from the athletic fields and closer to undeveloped areas near the Bronx River.

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