When I was at the Medal of Honor Park at M Street last Saturday morning, April 30, to take pictures of volunteers involved in the Boston Shines Initiative, I noticed four dogs without leashes roaming around the park. Their owners walked casually near them. I mentioned to them that there was a leash law in Boston. The young man tried to stare me down while the three women just kept walking.

Now that summer is approaching, kids will be playing in the nearby playground at this park. All dogs should be kept on leashes for their safety and the safety of others. State law and city ordinance prohibit this behavior from dog owners and they can be fined. For the protection of people, “When your dog is off of your property, it must be on a leash”(Mass. General Laws 140, Section 173, and City Ordinance 16-1.9) and “while enjoying our city’s parks with our pets, the same rule applies.”

In addition, city ordinance clearly dictates that “in order to ensure a secure and clean environment…and protect the public from potential hazardous health conditions and environmental pollution caused by dog waste” owners must be prepared to “remove and dispose of feces in a toilet or in a trash container after being secured in a plastic bag.”

The Boston Animal Control department oversees the parks in this matter but doesn’t have the necessary manpower to effectively monitor all the parks in Boston. Boston Police should make an effort to police these areas and issue tickets to those who don’t abide by the leash law.

When the BPD is checking up on leash law violators at M Street Park, they should also keep a watchful eye on teenagers drinking near the playground area in the evenings. An M Street resident told me that the kids leave trash and beer cans etc., there after they leave.  I’m sure the BPD is aware of this issue and will increase patrols at this location.

Lastly, the same M Street resident told me that people drive too fast on the part of M Street adjacent to the park. Additional signage is needed there to remind residents that children are living there and that they must drive slower.