Truckee Thursdays: Compromise reached in wake of dog ban outcry
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Have dog, will travel … especially to Truckee Thursdays.
For the past five years, thatand#8217;s been the philosophy of residents looking to have fun while supporting local businesses at one of the most popular and well-attended summer events throughout the greater Truckee/Tahoe region.
That downtown Truckee tradition will continue, officials said, although it appeared dogs would be fully banned following a short-lived decision made last week that had many residents growling in disappointment.
While Truckee Thursdays will remain a dog-friendly event this year, canines will no longer be allowed in the beer garden, starting next week, said Event Manager Cheri Sprenger.
and#8220;It gets so crowded and#8212; the beer garden has been where the biggest problems … have happened,and#8221; she said Thursday, a few hours before the event.
The other area where dogs are not allowed is the farmers market, which Sprenger said complies with Nevada County Department of Public Health regulations.
Aside from these two areas, on-leash dogs will be allowed at future Truckee Thursdays, said Sprenger, adding that event volunteers planned to educate dog-owners Thursday afternoon about the new rules, which will be fully enforced beginning with next weekand#8217;s Aug. 2 event.
The compromise was officially announced Saturday by Truckee Downtown Merchantand#8217;s Association President Alyssa Thomas, a Truckee Thursdays Committee member, on the eventand#8217;s Facebook page.
and#8220;… we welcome dogs on leashes at future Truckee Thursdays, and simply ask that owners be responsible and aware while with their dogs, especially around the food vendor areas,and#8221; Thomas wrote. and#8220;We understand that the culture of Truckee is extremely dog friendly and we want to continue to support that and feel that these regulations for the event are in keeping with those cultural values while still ensuring a safe and fun event.and#8221;
The compromise is quite a different stance than the one Truckee Thursdays held last week.
An advertisement in the Wednesday, July 18, Sierra Sun informed residents of a full-on ban, carrying the message: and#8220;Due to Community Safety Concerns and#8212; Please, NO DOGS Allowed at Future Truckee Thursdays Events!and#8221;
This year, the fifth anniversary for Truckee Thursdays, has been the biggest yet, Sprenger said this week, with crowds approaching or exceeding 3,000 people most weeks, compared to 2011, which saw crowds of around 2,000 to 2,200, spiking at about 2,500 or so a couple times.
Safety concerns associated with the increasing numbers of people and#8212; many with their canine friends in tow and#8212; led to the dog ban, Sprenger said.
and#8220;We had a lot of emails and comments, tons of emails from locals who were concerned about the dogsand#8217; safety,and#8221; Sprenger said. and#8220;It wasnand#8217;t just poop on the streets. There were legitimate concerns from many people.and#8221;
The ban drew immediate outcry from residents, some on the Truckee Thursdays Facebook page, and others in emails and letters to the Sierra Sun.
and#8220;I cannot believe that Truckee Thursdays is no longer allowing dogs at this family, community event,and#8221; wrote Truckee resident Lynn Shortridge in an email to the Sun earlier this week. and#8220;… if that decision was made because of dogs that are out of control, it is not the dogand#8217;s fault, it is the dog owner.
and#8220;As a dog owner and a member of this community, I say BOYCOTT Truckee Thursdays until they can figure out how to make it dog friendly again.and#8221;
Among the couple hundred-plus comments on the eventand#8217;s Facebook page about the ban, some residents also were upset.
and#8220;WOW, this is completely ridiculous!! What has happened to Truckee? It is slowly going down hill,and#8221; wrote Jenn Hill. and#8220;The town is not the same one that I grew up in. Dogs not allowed at music in the park, nor Truckee Thursdays now? Seriously? Now why donand#8217;t you guys just ban dogs from the 4th of July parade too? The main reason I ever wanted to go was so I could bring and show off my dog. I will no longer attend. Thanks for trying to push all your local attendees away from now on.and#8221;
Others, however, were quick to defend Truckee Thursdays.
and#8220;As a dog lover and owner, I still like the new rule,and#8221; wrote Marea Kerrigan Hunter. and#8220;Itand#8217;s just too crowded to have a bunch of dogs walking around, several times Iand#8217;ve seen people tripping over the pups or their leashes. Not to mention the dogs peeing on the trash cans and planters. The pups will be just fine, enjoy a night without them!and#8221;
Itand#8217;s the committeeand#8217;s hope, Sprenger said, that with proper education about the compromise, dogs will never have to be banned from the event.
and#8220;Whatand#8217;s going to happen in the future, weand#8217;re not sure,and#8221; Sprenger said.
What has become clear, however, is many people upset with the ban are satisfied with the compromise.
In a follow-up phone interview Thursday, Shortridge said she still planned to not attend the event. However, when informed of the compromise, Shortridge was enthusiastic.
and#8220;I totally agree; itand#8217;s a great compromise for dog owners,and#8221; she said.
After the compromise was announced on Facebook, many praised TDMA and Truckee Thursdays, and Thomas thanked readers for their opinions and#8212; while also reminding people of the importance of civility.
and#8220;To see the negative discourse between people is really disheartening. To that end, it is time for this site to return to its original purpose of highlighting a great event, people and happenings at Truckee Thursdays,and#8221; she wrote. and#8220;Any posts not suitable will be removed. For any future opinions, we are happy to discuss this topic in a more appropriate venue and manner so please contact us directly through the website, http://www.truckeethursdays.com.and#8221;
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