ShareThis Page

Mt. Lebanon dog park measure fails

| Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Mt. Lebanon commissioners tried to throw dog owners a bone with a proposal to allow leashed dogs in a municipal park when children aren't likely to be there, but failed to gather enough votes Tuesday night for approval.

In response to residents' requests to relax the prohibition on pets in Williamsburg Park off Sleepy Hollow Road, Commissioner Dave Brumfield proposed a 90-day pilot program allowing leashed dogs to be walked in certain areas of the park before 9 a.m. and after dark.

But the measure failed in a 2-2 vote, with Brumfield and Kelly Fraasch in favor, Kristin Linfante and John Bendel against, and commission President Matt Kluck absent. In the event of a tie vote, any legislation is considered rejected.

“If we go this way, Williamsburg Park is the tip of the iceberg, and every meeting we're going to be talking about the next park,” said Linfante, who said dog walkers are permitted in the municipality's wooded “passive parks” — Twin Hills Park, McNeilly Park and parts of Bird Park.

Brumfield said he was trying to strike a compromise between residents who wanted to use their neighborhood park to walk their dogs, and those who worried that allowing dogs in proximity to children playing would increase the likelihood of bites, or kids being exposed to waste left behind by irresponsible pet owners.

“Using (the park) with your dog, using the park with your child — those are both perfectly legitimate uses of public space,” Brumfield said.

He noted that the question has been before the parks advisory board three times during the last nine months. The board first recommended relaxing the rules, rescinded that recommendation after hearing from neighbors opposed to the pilot program, then recommended it again after more consideration.

Brumfield's original proposal was more restrictive, with only Ward 4 residents being allowed to purchase a special license or permit from the municipality that they'd have to display on their dog's leash or collar when walking in Williamsburg Park. The permit idea was dropped this week when he and Fraasch discussed the time restrictions as an alternative.

The commission and residents noted how the issue divided the neighborhood around the park, and each side presented petitions to the commission Tuesday.

Dogs and kids often mix, resident Dina Torek said.

“There are dogs on Washington Road and there are kids on Washington Road; the dogs are leashed and the kids are fine,” she said. “The park is not reserved for children, it's for all of us.”

Bridgewater Drive resident Bruce Parry disagreed.

“We don't let (dogs) in the schools, we don't let them on the athletic fields, and now we've suddenly gotten the idea that Williamsburg Park is so different,” he said.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.