Today is the last day to weigh in on Denver's dog parks... and Denver's dog poop

Hey, dog lovers. Hey, dog haters. Hey, dog-poop haters and uh, dog-poop lovers. You have until 5:30 p.m. today to answer the city's 44-question dog park survey and help determine the future of Denver's fledgling canine hangouts. Not to mention the future of the poop in said hangouts.

The survey includes more than its fair share of poop-related questions, such as, "Is dog waste in Denver parks an important issue that needs to be addressed?," "Do you feel that the dog waste receptacles are reasonably restocked and available?," and finally, "Are you aware that dog waste in natural areas and parks can spread disease to wildlife and encourage the growth of non-native plants?"

That last question seems a bit stacked. It's impossible to answer no: If you don't know that poop encourages invading alien plant species and kills fuzzy baby ducks before reading the question, now you know. Uh.

At least the survey isn't quite as stacked as the one featured in the second episode of NBC's new comedy, Parks and Recreation. When mid-level bureaucrat Leslie Knope, played by Amy Poehler, doesn't like the answer she receives to a survey about her plan to build a new park, she follows up with this: "What would you say if I told you that nine out of ten meth users said the same thing?"

It's unclear whether the Denver Parks and Recreation Department has surveyed meth users about the city's dog parks. There are bound to be a few among the more than 3,500 people who have answered the survey so far, as tallied up by department spokeswoman Jill McGranahan.

In addition to probing about poop, the survey asks takers' opinions on off-leash dog areas, dog-human conflicts and whether folks would be willing to pay an annual user fee for the parks.

McGranahan says the department will compile the answers and then hold a series of public meetings in August or September to present the findings and solicit more opinions. By October, she says, the department hopes to have a good idea of whether Denver's six dog parks, which were started as a pilot program five years ago, are meeting the needs of the city's pups. If improvements or expansions are needed, McGranahan says they'll include them the 2010 city budget.

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar

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