Thursday, May 10, 2007

How To Get Involved

A number of people have contacted me asking what they can do to help the cause of getting a safe and legal off-leash area in Ann Arbor. Here are a few ideas:

Contact the city. Contacts within the city have repeatedly told me that the best thing we can do is to be vocal. Let the mayor, City Council, and Parks Advisory Commission know that you want this service and you are frustrated that they are still dragging their feet. Tell them that you want them to take immediate action to provide a safe and legal off-leash play option. Be polite but firm and clear. Contact information for these people is in the "Contact Information" sidebar to the right.

Write a letter to the editor. Contact the Ann Arbor News and/or any other local publication. Write a letter expressing your frustration with the stalling by the city. You might note the clearly demonstrated need and the string of promises by the city that a solution is just around the corner. Just be clear and concise about your thoughts on the issue. You can send a letter using the online form at this link.

Attend a meeting. There is a schedule at the right. It includes Parks Advisory Commission meetings and meetings about dog run plans. Show up at one of these meetings and let the people there know that you are concerned about the continuing delay. This is an extremely effective way of getting the attention of the people who can make a difference. It also helps to show that supporters are the majority of residents and people opposed to facilities for dog owners are a noisy minority. You might also consider attending a City Council meeting if you have time. They allow public commentary for three minutes per speaker on any topic. Stand up and tell them that they are ignoring the needs of a large portion of the city's population.

Keep an eye open. Watch for news items, surveys, public announcements, etc that are relevant to our efforts. When you find them publicize them or pass them along to me ( and I will post them here.

Tell a friend. If you know other people who have dogs or who are just interested in this issue, ask them to take similar actions. You can also tell them about this blog and suggest that they check it out to get more information on the situation and how to help.

Watch this space. I will continue to provide information as I get it. In the near future we may also try to organize some more formal community action to get the city's attention. One thing we are considering is a day of "civil obedience" or a rally in cooperation with the Canine Social Club. It would be a fun place for dog owners to meet each other and also a chance to demonstrate that we are a large group that shouldn't be swept aside. Nothing has been planned yet, but it is a possibility.

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