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Meeting on 'off leash hours' set for Thursday night

Mike Goers and his dog Mitch play frisbee (Bob McClay/KTAR)

PHOENIX -- A group of dog owners want some changes at Phoenix city parks.

"Mitch" the dog loves to play with his owner. Mike Goers said his collie is "just a good ole mutt."

"He's a good frisbee dog," Goers said. "He's very obedient. He climbs trees in the park. He sits, stays, comes. He's just a blast!"

They live in Paradise Valley. The nearest dog park is at Cave Creek and Grovers, seven miles away from their house. Instead, Goers and his dog take their frisbee and join other owners and their unleashed dogs at a nearby park.

But letting a dog go unleashed is against Arizona law, except in a fenced in dog park. Police moved in on Goers and other dog owners at his neighborhood park last month.

"A plain-clothed spotter came out, detained me, then radioed in squad cars from other locations to get other people in the park," Goers said. "It was a planned event."

Goers called the show of force excessive.

After paying a $100 fine, Goers started working to try and change things at parks. He created the Phoenix Puppy Power Facebook page, where he and his "friends" have been talking about setting up "off leash" hours at city parks.

The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department said its hands are tied because of the Arizona state law.

Goers wonders if there's a way around that.

"Cities do not comply with state statutes all of the time. States do not comply with federal statutes all of the time," Goers said. "I'd like to find out if we can move forward, and, if possible, talk about this."

That talking will happen Thursday. The Parks Department will hold two public meetings. The first is at 6:30 p.m., where the possibility of an unleashed dog run in Desert Horizon park will be discussed. Then, at 7:30 p.m., they'll be talking about the possibility of the "off leash" hours at city parks.

Both of Thursday's meetings are at the Paradise Valley Community Center at 17402 North 40th Street in Phoenix.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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