Saturday, January 14, 2006

The South Side Gets Screwed! Citizen Chien Edition

In the second of our our continuing series covering instances where Chicago's South Side doesn't get a fair shake, we turn to the issue of dog parks-- those little patches of the Chicago public park system where dogs can run around off leash. These places are essential for those of us who have young, athletic and sociable dogs for whom a leash walk just doesn't cut it. In fact, Citizen Chien is sitting next to me right now, whimpering softly as he pines for the society and stimulation of a dog park.

So, where in Chicago can you find this essential public service-- you guessed it, on the North Side. The Chicago Park District maintains 10 DFAs-- Dog Friendly Areas. All but one of these is on the North Side, and the single South Side location is Coliseum Park in the South Loop, a long distance from most South Side neighborhoods. Moreover, Cain and Chien have visited three North Side dog parks-- Wiggly Field, Montrose Beach and Margate Park-- and each is vastly bigger and nicer than Coliseum Park.

Don't our South Side dogs deserve the thrill of running free with other dogs every bit as much a North Side dog? Don't our South Side children deserve to use public parks without being terrified by dogs whose owners illegally let them off leash because that's the only way they have to exercise them properly (not that Citizen Cain excuses this behavior)? What do you say-- Chicago Park District?

One South Side neighborhood, Hyde Park, had a group organized to get a dog park. This group, whowever, has given up on getting a park, for reasons that its web site doesn't make entirely clear. Don't give up South Siders! Your pooches are getting screwed!