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ARD votes to ban smoking in Ashford Park

By: Bruce Warren Journal Staff Writer
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No smoking signs might be going up at Ashford Park in the near future, making it the first Auburn Recreation District Park where smoking is illegal. Some local residents have no problem with the ARD decision to ban smoking in the park, others are happy to see a smoke-free park, where cigarette butts will pose no hazard to dogs or wildlife. Dana Stone, a non-smoker from Loomis, just adopted a border-terrier mix. She plans on visiting the dog park regularly, she said. She was happy to hear that Ashford Park will be the first smoke-free ARD park. However, no ordinance is in place and ARD must work out the legal details. “I’m all for that,” Stone said. “Second-hand smoke is a killer. I don’t want to be breathing smoke. Also, people aren’t careful where they throw their cigarette butts. That can be a hazard.” Laura Pinnick, founder of the dog park, agrees about the hazards of discarded butts. “It’s really bad for the dogs and for the wildlife if they swallow any cigarette butts,” Pinnick said. “Swallowing a cigarette butt could kill a dog. “All parks in Roseville have no-smoking regulations. The Folsom and Sacramento dog parks are all no smoking.” At least two people interviewed at the park Monday were in favor of a no-smoking area, rather than banning smoking in the entire park. Bill Barker, one of the directors of the dog park, favored that solution. “I believe there ought to be a designated (smoking) area in Ashford Park, not in the dog park,” Barker said. “I’ve never been a smoker. In the dog park we don’t have room for a designated smoking area.” Sabrina Wright of Auburn frequents the Ashley Memorial Dog Park, which is part of Ashford Park, and she’s not sure what all the fuss is about. “I smoke,” Wright said Monday. “But I think it’s a big to-do about nothing and it’s a few people who made a big deal out of it. I’m not going to stop going to the park. I can always smoke outside the park.” Eileen Peckham is another regular park visitor, who made similar comments. “I really have never noticed anybody smoking and I come three times a week,” Peckham said. “I don’t smoke. I don’t know what the big deal is.” Annie Holmes of Auburn, a smoker, was in the dog park Monday with her dog Olive, a Welsh corgi breed, and she does not have a problem with the new ordinance. “I smoke but not in this park,” Holmes said. The decision to ban smoking at the park came last Thursday night when ARD directors voted 3-2 in favor ot it. Directors Gordon Ainsleigh and Jim Ferris along with chairman Curt Smith voted for it, while directors Jim Gray and Scott Holbrook voted against it. When Chief Valerie Harris of the Auburn Police Department was contacted Monday, she had not been fully informed yet by ARD of the new ordinance. She declined to make comments until she received more details. “The next step will be to confer with APD to discuss what possible regulations would be put into place,” Muscott said Monday. “ARD completely understands the priorities of the police department. There are certainly other things that happen in the city that are of higher priority than smoking in Ashford Park.” When the dog park was founded, a sign was attached to a fence just to the left of the entrance that lists “ARD Dog Park Rules.” Rule No. 10 on that list is: “Consumption of alcohol and food, the use of glass containers and smoking are not allowed.” At the bottom of the list is a note to call ARD and the Auburn Police Department to report violations.