PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Matt Cook is walking his dogs on a leash, but he prefers to turn them him loose in the large enclosure at Olympia Park on Mount Washington.
“Dogs like playing with each other. People get to stand around and talk while their dogs get to run and play,” said Cook. “It keeps the dog messes concentrated and easier for people to pick up after them.”
But some neighbors, even fellow dog owner Marlene Masucci, don’t agree.
Masucci: “Look what they did to our beautiful park.”
KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “What did they do?”
Masucci: “They took it away with this horse corral. That’s what they did.”
She says the enclosure has swallowed up the park and created a nuisance.
“You hear the dogs barking all night, the parking, the people. My dog’s been attacked twice,” she added.
Caught in the middle is Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith who says there are legitimate concerns about the dog enclosure, which is twice the size of original plans.
“We’ve had numerous complaints from the residents that are most affected, the ones living by here; but we’ve also had some folks that support it living nearby,” said Kail-Smith.
She says enforcement and patrols have been lacking, but adds that she is not in favor of taking the park down after the city has invested tens of thousands of dollar in it.
“We had allocated $60,000,” Kail-Smith said. “I’m not sure how much of that funding was spent for the fences, but the fencing can be moved if need be, and the additional funds could be allocated to complete the park if that’s the choice of the community.”
The enclosure is off limits now for re-seeding, but its fate should be decided the week after next when residents on both sides of the issue meet with Mayor Bill Peduto.
“It’s been a very controversial issue and we’re trying to put this to rest once and for all by hosting a meeting and allowing the administration to hear all the concerns,” said Kail-Smith.