At least one Big Rapids resident would like to see some changes at the city's dog park.
Tom Bratus made a presentation to the Big Rapids Park and Recreation Board last week regarding the practice of allowing “in-tact” or un-neutered male dogs in the park.
He told the board the the biological imperative for breeding causes male dogs to become overly aggressive and he would like to see them prohibited in the park.
“We're not going to be able to prevent fights 100 percent no matter what you do. Sometimes it's a toy, sometimes the dogs look the wrong way at each other, but the biological imperative, that's a biggie. That almost always generates a fight.”
Bratus says he has consulted with Big Rapids veterinarians Wendell S. Weber, who is also one of the preeminent veterinarians in the midwest.
Weber recommends not allowing unneutered dogs in the park in order to minimize altercations between dogs and minimize the risk of human injury.
Bratus notes the biological imperative in male dogs is not something to be taken lightly.
“Dog's are that way 24 – 7. They want to make more dogs more than they want to eat, more than they want to find shelter, more than anything.”
Many other dog parks in Michigan have banned in-tact males because it's a safety issue.
Bratus says his dog, Oscar, has been attacked numerous times while in the park and he himself was bitten in the calf by a dog weighing nearly 100 pounds.
“Again, people have been bitten. One was a little child actually that got bit on the hand. It wasn't bad but it certainly upset the mother quite a bit.”
Board member Mark Brejcha agrees the problem should be addressed, especially as it involves injury.
“I think we need to re-address the rules – if we are going to put new signs up, I think we ought to do a draft and then bring it back to the board and get it approved,” he says.
Brejcha says it may take as long as a month to get the rules changed and the signage put in place.