Dogs and Tennis Players at Odds At Mosswood Courts

Kemal T. Stewart, Kemal T. Stewart, and Kemal T. Stewart

Tennis players at North Oakland’s Mosswood Park are in conflict with dog owners over the dog park behind the tennis courts that was added a little more than a year ago.
Tennis player and park attendee Thomas Wade believes the dog park makes it difficult to play without dogs interfering.
“Sometimes I have a tendency to hit the ball over the fence, I used to just go grab the ball, but now when I go get the ball, the ball is all wet and slimy because it’s been in some dog’s mouth,” said Wade. “I have to hear loud barking while I’m trying to practice, and some of these people just don’t have any control of their pets at all.”
Oakland parks have a no-dog policy, but became more dog friendly in 2006 by adding restricted areas within select parks for dogs to run freely accompanied by their owners.
Mosswood’s dog park is in a restricted area and separated into two sections, there is a “small dog run” close to the parking lot entrance, and a “big dog run” located behind the tennis courts. Some dog owners who utilize the dog runs believe that there should not be a problem since there are two dog runs and they are in restricted areas.
“It’s a restricted area and people are supposed to be responsible for their dogs, plus there’s two sections for big and small dogs,” said dog owner Steve Levinthal. “Most tennis people who are serious about their game wouldn’t be disturbed by anything.”
While both parties disagree on issues regarding the dog park, no tennis players have taken an initiative to petition for a change.
“As much as it irks me to pick up a ball that has dog droppings on it, or have to hear a whole bunch of barking, I’m still not going to take out time to complain to the city about it, and I really don’t know of anyone else who is or has,” said Wade.
Wade also claims that he doesn’t play tennis as much as he used to due to a couple confrontations that nearly become physical, however he did not want to go into detail.
Before the dog park was put in place, the area behind the courts was under-utilized and frequented by drug users and transients. The addition of the dog park was proposed by local dog owners that lived in the area around 2007.
The feud between tennis players and dog owners has yet to fade away.