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Catering to Man's Best Friend Dog Runs are a Hot Amenity

 Pet owners certainly love their dogs and consider them a part of the family.  With an estimated 40,000 dogs in the city of Boston alone, (as per  allstateanimalcontrol.com), it’s no wonder businesses and city dwellings are jumping on the dog-service  bandwagon.  

 Our canine counterparts play an important part in the, not only day-to-day, but  larger life decisions we make. Where to live? Why live there? And what’s in it for Fido? The easier a condominium building can make it on a dog owner  to care for the family pooch, the greater the chance of buying real estate in  their buildings. So the 12 off-leash dog runs located across Boston and  countless others across New England may play a large role in the demographic of  a particular neighborhood or building.  

 A surefire way to attract this market-share is to develop urban green spaces  that exist or have the potential to create dog friendly off-leash areas.  Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire all have laws which require dogs  to be leashed at all times with the exception of designated areas. Other New  England states prohibit dogs from running at large but do not specifically  require dogs to be on a leash.  

 One of the first New England area dog runs appeared in Somerville, Massachusetts  in 2006 after resident Michele Biscoe decided to adopt a dog and visited all  the open spaces in her neighborhood and found that they were all posted “No Dogs Allowed.” She began to meet lots of neighbors, who, like her, had no place in the  neighborhood they could safely and legally allow their dogs to play off-leash.  Biscoe and a group of fellow dog lovers founded Somerville Dog Owners Group and  helped transform the city’s laws—and its attitude. Today Somerville residents—both two- and four-legged —enjoy a fenced- in dog park at Nunziato Field, a tree-studded park not far from  Tufts University. The “No Dogs Allowed” signs are gone, replaced by a new message that says dogs are welcome—on a leash.  

 “Starting a dog park wasn’t always easy. Somerville wasn’t always the friendliest place for dogs,” says Biscoe. “It’s time for city governments to recognize dog owner’s rights. Public open space must serve the many and diverse recreational needs  of all residents.”  

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