To the Editor:
On behalf of Friends of Princeton Open Space (FOPOS), I am writing to ask fellow Princetonians to help address the problem of off-leash dogs in our parks and obey the law, which requires dogs to be leashed at all times when off their owners’ property. Lest anyone think this letter is written out of anti-dog sentiment, let me say that I and many FOPOS board members are ardent dog lovers. We would love to have a place in Princeton like there is at Skillman Park where dogs could run free. However, that is not the situation currently, and two very sad incidents at the Billy Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve illustrate how ignoring the law can have serious consequences.
In one, which occurred a couple of years ago, an off-leash dog ran up to a stag, was gored, and died. Its owner was devastated. Quite recently, an off-leash dog seriously injured a dog that was leashed. There have also been a number of incidents in which people who have had past unpleasant encounters with off-leash dogs have had their enjoyment of the park spoiled by encountering them repeatedly on the trails. We know from conversations with the Animal Control Officer that off-leash dogs are a significant problem at other open space parks; it is not just Mountain Lakes. more