Ketchum has gone to the dogs.
COVID-19 has shown that people love their pets. One of the pandemic’s lessons is that as the Wood River Valley becomes more populated, it needs to plan for dogs.
The pandemic has made the need acute.
Nationwide, breeders have year-long
waiting lists for puppies. An adoption frenzy has depleted animal shelter populations as never before.
It’s safe to say that no local plans or zoning ordinances address the needs of dogs and their owners. Local residential densities used to be so low that it never occurred to planners, elected officials and developers to create public places for man’s best friend.
Today, Ketchum’s streets are filled with dogs that walk people everywhere. A parking area at the so-called dog park, a former golf course in private ownership, is packed most days. Once developed, the dog park could disappear.
A private lot across from a newly opened Ketchum apartment complex has become the potty spot for tenants’ pets. Without the lot, then what?
The Environmental Resource Center pro-
vides waste receptacles at 16 local trailheads. It’s likely the nonprofit will not be able to handle growing piles of dog waste on its own.
The need to plan for pet dogs—potty spots, waste receptacles and exercise grounds—is obvious. Planning will reduce conflicts between dog lovers and others not so enamored.
Dogs are as good or better for human mental health as the stores, streets, parking spaces and public facilities already in cities’ plans. It’s time to include facilities for man’s best friends.