My husband and I have lived in Carpinteria over 60 years and have always felt blessed to live here. But lately we have felt ostracized because we are dog owners who want a place to freely exercise our dogs off leash.

We are grateful for the effort the city and others have made in providing off-leash locations. Unfortunately, they were only temporary as people profusely complained, and we are told people take priority over dogs. Behind each dog is a person – often a tax-paying citizen who deserves a place to enjoy recreational activity with their “loved-ones” like other citizens of Carpinteria.

Our city provides for activities that I never take part in, but I think it’s great they’re available for others to enjoy. It makes for a diverse and happy community. I, like many others, enjoy exercising my dogs off leash, but everywhere I go in Carpinteria, it’s prohibited.

Dog parks are commonplace in countless cities, and I feel Carpinteria would benefit by following this popular trend. I understand a park for dogs needs to be situated where it won’t create a disturbance, which has proven to be challenging, but I trust we can open our hearts and find a place suitable for our community.

The American Heart Association states in “5 Ways Pets Help with Stress and Mental Health” that “Evidence suggests that attachment to pets is good for human health and even helps build a better community.”

Members of C-Dog (Carpinteria Dog Owners Group) and those who desire to exercise their dogs off leash are the nicest people I have had the privilege to meet. They recognize dogs deserve to run free and know the joy it brings to the people who love them. Carpinteria, please help make this happen and build a better community.