Dog drama in weston

Since the beginning of Covid restrictions in March 2020, the “dog issue” has increased in stridency. The Emergency Team at first restricted all public lands to on-leash only, and then gradually reduced that to on-leash after 10 am on all public lands.

As is predictable in a town that loves dogs, there was much outrage from those who love to have their dogs off-leash, and reciprocal outrage from those who want to see dogs leashed at all times.

Just for reference, there were 998 dogs registered in Weston in 2019 in a population of 12,000 residents. When Covid puppies get counted, we will be heading towards 1,100 dogs. And of course, Weston’s Cat Rock and Weston Reservoir properties are meccas for out-of-town pups as well. If Weston ever inches towards bankruptcy, charging admission for dogs at Cat Rock would be a massive comeback.

So what’s a non-dog person to do? For folks who dislike dogs altogether, Norumbega Reservoir is perfect for a stroll. No dogs allowed, no horses, no bicycles and no fun. That’s because the reservoir is “on-line” and no one wants to drink dog poo or horse hairs. No one. Wellington Farm land just next door is also dog-free except for one trail.

For those who like dogs as long as they are on-leash, the Legacy Trail is a leashed-dog-only trail (if only people would obey the signs) as is the Case Estates. The Mass Central Rail Trail: leashed dog only, all day every day. All playing fields and recreation fields in Weston: leashed-dog only. Fido should never ever be allowed to run about in the middle of the playing fields. It is not fun at all to scrape dog poo out of kid’s baseball cleats every weekend.

On the other hand, if you love dogs and you want your dog to have doggie friends and run like the wind, Cat Rock is the place. Just know what you’re getting into. There will be massive amounts of offleash dogs, massive amounts of dog poo that people have not picked up, and massive amounts of dog poo bags left behind … my heart bleeds for this beautiful park. The wildlife love it too–bald eages, red-tailed hawks and many other animals are sighted there frequently.

At this point in time (February 1, 2021), all Conservation lands follow the leashed-dogs after 10 am rule. This rule was put in place by Weston’s emergency team because dogs were causing people to get into close proximity–you know it happens. This happened to me yesterday when I was caught in the tractor beam of a 3-month-old golden retriever puppy. No, the owner was not at fault…it was totally me wanting to hug the puppy. And worse than those moments are the ones where a large dog takes a jump at your dog and the owner has to come close to grab hold of it. Yes, masks of course, but that’s the reasoning behind the leashing of dogs during Covid.

Most towns near Weston also have leash laws at this time. Lincoln, Concord, Wayland and Sudbury for sure. Wellesley has not gone this route, but that’s their call. I would say that if everyone could obey the rule for now, it would have a better chance of being relaxed in the future. I would also say that there is zero chance of this at Cat Rock whose users somehow believe that rules do not apply to them and their dogs. No, not everyone is a scofflaw but it does seem to mostly apply there. Our former Animal Control Officer used to laugh at the folks who would leash up when they saw her, and then almost immediately off-leash as she passed by…and then she would catch them again on her next loop.

Conservation trail maps can be found here: Please obey the trail rules or risk losing access to our lands.

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