An idea to create a small dog run area at Chandler Field has not sat well with members of the so-called “Goose Patrol,” a group established in Lavallette to allow a limited number of dogs to be licensed to walk on public land in order to leave their scent and dissuade Canada geese from leaving droppings behind. There has also been some pushback from the borough’s Public Works Department.
The idea has worked notably well for several years, and has even spurred other communities to look into similar programs, as oppose to less humane methods of keeping the geese away from playing fields and parks. The problem in Lavallette, as more people visit for the summer and more residents are living in town full-time, is that “man’s best friend” has multiplied, and demand to participate in the program has proliferated as well.
With planned improvements on the way, potentially, for Chandler Field off Baltimore Avenue, it was proposed that a portion of the park be cordoned off for a dog run in the summer, so dogs could be able to be use the facility while it was in use by baseball leagues and other organized sports. The Goose Patrol Committee, however, largely disagreed with the idea, and sent a letter to the borough council opposing it, which was briefly discussed at a meeting Monday night.
“We’re trying to do what we can to please everyone, so it was an idea we came up with,” said Council President Anita Zalom. “There are more dogs in town than ever before, so there is a lot of demand.”
The Goose Patrol Committee, however, argues that borough parks – especially Chandler Field – were never meant as “dog parks,” and specifically placing a dog run in the area would effectively advertise it as such. In the past, the borough has had issues with dogs unaffiliated with the Goose Patrol program allowing their dogs to run freely in the park, which was never the intent of the rather utilitarian nature of the anti-goose initiative.
The letter to the council also expressed concern that committee members would no longer be able to manage the regulations of the “patrol” ordinance, and the smaller size of the dog run may cause conflict if small dogs and large dogs arrive en masse and are all allowed to run free in an enclosed space. Altercations between dogs – or their owners – could lead to liability exposure, the letter expressed.
Zalom said that the initial thought was to install a temporary fence for a dog run, in July and August, in the southwest corner of the field.
Ultimately, the issue has now been squarely placed as one which will benefit from the passage of time, with Mayor Walter LaCicero noting there were just over two weeks left of the busy summer season, and the council’s Ordinance Committee would meet with the Goose Patrol organizers at the end of the month to discuss how to manage the program next summer.
Lavallette has placed numerous signs at Chandler Field indicating that the area is not a dog park and the only dogs allowed in the facility are those registered with the Goose Patrol for the purpose of cutting down on the Canada goose population. No dogs are allowed on the field – period – when events are ongoing, and recently a webcam was set up along with a Facebook group for members to keep up with the field’s calendar, and thus when they can and cannot bring their dogs for a run.