CHICAGO (CBS) — The coronavirus pandemic is changing human lives every day, and now, it is changing the way pets interact with each other too.
CBS 2’s Marissa Parra reported Tuesday evening on the newest change to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance affects our four-legged friends, and it has some dog owners upset.
“She needs a lot of activity, a lot of energy, typically 60 minutes a day of intense exercise,” Thomas Sobon said of his dog, Daisy.
Bremen Grove Dog Park in Orland Park is where Thomas and Courtney Sobon walk Daisy, and it’s her favorite place.
But now, it’s off limits.
“To give us less than 24 hours, shut the park down – it’s very upsetting to us and the other dog park members,” Thomas Sobon said.
As long as dogs have a leash, the trails are still open. But the Sobons said it is not the same as the dog park.
“With the amount of exercise Daisy needs, it’s not working out well for her,” Thomas Sobon said.
They and other dog owners we met up with were frustrated and confused – saying they had done everything right.
They were social distancing. They had hand sanitizer. They wore masks. So why were dog parks that were open last week suddenly closed, when the state was loosening up on restrictions elsewhere?
The Cook County Forest Preserve District said it is because of a change to guidance from the CDC. That came after a pug in North Carolina became the first dog in the U.S. to test positive for the coronavirus – where it is believed humans spread it to him at the end of April, not the other way around.
Pets were added to CDC guidelines just days ago, saying they should be social distancing too. The agency said in part that pets should not interact with people or other animals outside the household, dogs should be kept on a leash, and, “Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.”
But the Sobons and other dog owners say they’re not buying it.
“I feel like this wouldn’t change the way I feel about this because the CDC is only giving us a guideline,” Thomas Sobon said. “They’re not saying there’s any evidence of a dog transmitting it to another dog or a dog transmitting it to a human.”
They started a petition. So far, more than 300 have signed it.
The Cook County Forest Preserve District said it is looking into ways that current members can either get an extended season, or a credit for a future season.