Community Members Comment on Dog Run in Boston Common

dogsThe application for a rotating off leash area in the Boston Common is complete and is pending approval by the city. Dog owners and other community members who are advocating for the space comment on the importance of this development for the city of Boston and respond to some public concerns.

Allison Byrne says,

“There is no question the off-leash area will be a big boon for dog owners.   The parks are for the people to use and enjoy.  And it turns out that for city dwellers with dogs, a growing population, the way they want to enjoy the park is with their dog.  Dogs and people are social and thrive in a group setting.  Having a designated area where dog owners can congregate and allow their dogs to safely run around together is the goal.  Dogs need to run on a daily basis to be emotionally and physically healthy, and the interactions they have with other dogs are helpful for socialization, similar to how children benefit from play groups.  The same can be said of the dog owners!”

She believes the city will benefit from the program because it creates goodwill and a enhances a growing sense of community. The Boston Common is our common back yard and all city-dwellers should be able to use it to mutual benefit.

This of course leads to the question of proper care. There is concern that overuse of these areas will be detrimental to the grounds. That is why the space will be rotating. Rather than one designated off-leash area the plan is for dog owners to rotate use of separate spaces to allow the areas to be reseeded and restored between uses. These spaces will be well marked with signs, dog waste bag dispensers and trash bins. The dog owners have agreed to a sort of self governance which will include outreach and education to encourage all dog owners to obey the rules, and enables them to become active stewards of the park. Dog owners are also financially responsible for restoring the off-leash areas on a regular basis.  The money for this upkeep will come both from private financial contributions and through public fundraising efforts.  

If you have questions about the off-leash area please email

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