County mayoral candidates Merrill Cook and Peter Corroon may have some major areas of disagreement when it comes to county governance, but on one issue, they stand in agreement: Dog lovers have it rough.
More than 50 county residents attended a debate on the issue Monday night sponsored by Millcreek Friends Interested in Dogs and Open Space (FIDOS), Republican Mayor Nancy Workman did not attend the debate.
The audience grilled independent Cook and Democrat Corroon on their plans regarding leash laws and open space for walking dogs.
Dogs "are part of your families," Corroon said. "I wouldn't want someone coming to me and saying, 'You can't bring your kids into the park today. It's an odd day — no kids today.' " He was referring to a county ordinance that allows dogs to run leash-free in Millcreek Canyon only on odd-numbered days.
Cook agreed, saying, "I think one of the wonderful things about open space, and especially our canyons, is that we can unleash our pets. . . . I think there are some dogs that need to stay on their leash," but he said county ordinances on pets tend to be arbitrary and should be more common sense-oriented.
But neither candidate would commit to increasing funding for animal services or ordinance enforcement.
The candidates also expressed disapproval of county zoning ordinances that set numbers of pets families are allowed to own without making specific policies for animal size or type or the nuisance they create.
Neither candidate currently owns dogs, though Cook's family has had three cocker spaniels, and Corroon said he grew up with dogs and wants to get a dog when his children, ages 1, 2 and 3, are old enough. He said he lived with his godmother for a year, and she had 15 dogs.
Millcreek FIDOS is online at www.millcreekfidos.org.