Dog usage of Osius Park could be limited or eliminated

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 1, 2019

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — Grosse Pointe Shores’ practice of allowing residents to let their dogs roam Osius Park without a leash during the winter may soon be a thing of the past.

At a recent Shores town hall meeting, Mayor Ted Kedzierski said officials and residents “had a spirited discussion about it.” While some residents say they don’t feel comfortable walking around the park when unleashed dogs are present, others like to take their dogs to the park, where they can run and play.

During a Sept. 17 Shores City Council meeting, Kedzierski said the city received a petition at the town hall meeting signed by 60 residents who would like to see at least some allowance for dogs at Osius Park, perhaps during specific time periods.

The Shores does have a separate dog park, adjacent to the City Hall parking lot, but that park is fairly small and doesn’t offer enough room for large dogs to do much running.

Tom Mellos, a member of the Parks Committee, said Michigan law states that people must have their dogs under control “at all times.”

“I know at our Parks Committee meeting, we had recommended that there be no dogs at the park in the winter,” Mellos told the council Sept. 17. “The biggest issue for the city is liability.”

The concern that residents like Mellos have is that an unleashed dog might bite an Osius Park visitor or even knock over someone in an overly enthusiastic attempt to greet the person, which could result in injury to the human.

“That’s why I would recommend no dogs at the park off-leash,” Mellos said.

It wasn’t known at press time when, or if, the council might be taking formal action to reduce or ban allowing dogs to run off-leash at Osius Park.

“We’re sensitive to it,” Kedzierski said. “This is a topic that’s dear to a lot of people. We’re trying to be reasonable and make reasonable decisions.”

Circa 2012, the Shores began allowing residents to bring their dogs to Osius Park during the winter, which is a time when park usage plummets. Initially, dogs at the park needed to be kept on leashes, but then the city began allowing dogs to run in the park unleashed.