By: Amalia Klinck-Shearman
November 7, 2013
When Kaylee Gonzalez moved to downtown Winston-Salem in early August to attend cosmetology school, she decided to get a dog for protection. Today, Gonzalez is more at ease with living downtown and views walks with her Irish Setter, Walter, through downtown as an adventure.
“Walks are always adventurous because we get to walk right in the middle of Fourth Street and be around a lot of people,” Gonzalez said. “Walter loves people so it’s fun for him.”
Though it can be difficult to live downtown with a dog because of the confined spaces of apartment, condo and loft buildings and a lack of a backyard, many downtown residents have brought their dogs with them.
Austin Schonbrun, a Winston Factory Loft resident said, “There are a lot of other dogs that live in my building, so my pug Finnegan always has a buddy to play with when I take him to the dog park attached to my building.”
Schonbrun added, “It can be difficult to get Finn the exercise he needs every day because I don’t have a backyard, but I walk him up and down Fourth Street.”
Not having enough green space to have their dogs play and run in is an obstacle that downtown residents have had to overcome. Some downtown patrons have used art parks and other green spaces downtown as pseudo dog parks as a way to ensure their pets get the exercise they need. Other downtown residents have taken their dogs to the surrounding neighborhoods and communities with dog parks.
“There’s not a lot of backyard room for him to run free so we rely on long walks and dog parks like Tanglewood Dog Park and the Washington Park Dog Park,” said Gonzalez.
Downtown residences, though, are making efforts to be pet friendly. The Winston Factory Lofts, the Nissen Building, The Gallery Lofts, and many other downtown residences allow their residents to own pets. Some of the residences, though, charge an extra fee per pet in addition to their rent, while other buildings have made extra efforts to accommodate residents with and without pets.
“Here at the Nissen Building, we have a side entrance special for short term parking and residents with dogs,” said Assistant Property Manager Tara Gibson. The side entrance makes it easier for Nissen Building residents to walk their dogs in a more open space and avoid disturbing residents who may not be pet friendly.
Sgt. Kevin S. Bowers from the Downtown Bike Patrol recently followed up on a complaint about a dog disturbance downtown on Chestnut Street, where a downtown resident failed to comply with city rules regarding dog ordinances.
“An elderly man who lives in the area of east Sixth Street and North Chestnut Street at the Goler Manor Apartments called the Downtown Bike Patrol office to complain about a dog that had chased after him while he was walking home,” said Bowers.
“The dog that chased the man had been at the park located on Sixth Street. The dog ran across the street and began to bark at him, but did not bite him,” Bowers added.
Some dog rules for the city of Winston-Salem, according to the Code of Ordinances of the City of Winston-Salem include the containment of noisy dogs, dog sanitation requirements and the proper restraint of dogs on and off the premise of the owner.
But overall, Bowers noted that the Downtown Bike Patrol does not get many complaints regarding dogs downtown.
In general, downtown residents said they have found that living downtown with a dog, despite some of the space obstacles, has not been as difficult as one would imagine.
In regards to taking along his dog with him through downtown, Schonburn noted that everyone has been open and accommodating to dogs.
“There are a number of outdoor restaurants that I can sit and eat with Finn at. Everyone loves to play with him and there are a lot of dogs out there too,” said Schonbrun.
Gonzalez also found that taking her dog with her during the weekend for strolls and a bite to eat has been easy downtown. “A lot of restaurants are dog friendly on their patios so we venture to those often,” said Gonzalez.