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Resident: Morrow park is ‘shooting gallery’

Dogs shot with BBs in own backyard

Photo by Curt Yeomans
Morrow resident Doug Clark files a complaint with the city council about the way his dogs are antagonized by visitors at a park located next to his home. Clark said the “paradise” he and his wife created in their backyard has been “downgraded” by the park’s existence.

Photo by Curt Yeomans Morrow resident Doug Clark files a complaint with the city council about the way his dogs are antagonized by visitors at a park located next to his home. Clark said the “paradise” he and his wife created in their backyard has been “downgraded” by the park’s existence.

MORROW — Neighborhood parks are intended to improve the quality of life in an area, but Doug and Kimberly Clark said a park built behind their home a few years ago is nothing but a nuisance.

The couple has lived in their home for 12 years. They got the home because it had been in the family since before they moved in, but Doug Clark said part of the attraction was the seclusion provided by a wooded area behind their house.

“It really made it nice and private back there so you could enjoy the backyard,” he said. “We have a pool and palm trees and bananas and stuff back there so it’s our little paradise.”

Things then changed unexpectedly in their neighborhood. The city cut down the trees and built Shirley and Wendell Watterson Park at the corner of Stratford Arms Drive and Harbin Woods Drive without notifying residents, alleged Clark. The Clark’s home borders the park.

The couple claims adults and children peer through three-feet of bamboo and try to antagonize their two Great Danes. Park visitors run towards the dogs and jump up and down in an attempt to get the canines excited. In the last two months, however, the efforts to antagonize the dogs have escalated to children shooting at them with BB guns.

“When they cut all that down and put the park in, then everybody starts coming up, looking in and throwing stuff in because a lot of people can’t stand to see something nice — they have to destroy it,” said Doug Clark. “Paradise was at least downgraded for sure.”

Morrow officials pledged Tuesday night to address the issues in Watterson Park after the Clarks lodged a complaint about it with the city council. The park has become a “shooting gallery” because of the use of BB guns in the park, and drug use has also infiltrated the property, according to the couple.

“It’s gotten worse in the last year but there’s always been something [going on] with the dogs,” said Kimberly Clark. She said the use of BB guns on their dogs began about two months ago.

City Manager Jeff Eady said he will work with city police Chief Chris Leighty to address the issues raised by the Clarks. He said some of the issues stem from the fact that the Georgia Transmission Corporation controls the right of ways along the property line which separates the park from the neighboring residential properties.

Eady said the city wants to get the corporation’s permission before it builds a wall to separate the homes from the park.

Leighty said some of the issues with the park stem from the transient nature which exists in some of the properties in the area, including an apartment complex where people can move in for as little as $299.

“We’re in a mobile society and as part of the mobile society, you have to be willing to understand some of the people using the parks are not going to be coming in there for lawful purposes the park was designed for,” said Leighty. “That’s where the police become involved.”

The chief vowed to fight back against the type of behavior about which Doug Clark told the council with more directed patrols and “possibly some check points” in the area around the park. He said people going into the Clark’s backyard can be a minor criminal offense but he also said he is worried about allegations that people are shooting BB guns and doing drugs on the property.

“If we have a criminal element in the park and drug usage, shooting guns and threatening citizens, it’s not going to be tolerated,” said Leighty.

Comments

OscarKnight 1 year, 7 months ago

.....At least he don't have worry about overgrown trees crashing on his family paradise.

......The cost of constructing a double layer of 1" inch fence boards would protect his property......Verses the cost of having trees removed, the with permission of the owners, would be a lot less.

...Build the Fence and use treated wood.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 7 months ago

....Clayton County has a Ordinance : Sec. 62-5. - Discharge of Weapons

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to fire a gun, rifle, pistol, revolver, cannon, air rifle, firearm of any type or shoot a slingshot or bow and arrow within the unincorporated area of the county within 1,000 feet of any residence, place of worship, business or public meeting place; except, that this section shall not apply to any law enforcement officer while in the discharge of his official duties, nor to any county animal control officer as provided below, nor to any person hunting upon his own property or the premises of another with the owner's written consent in that area of the county zoned for agriculture by a zoning ordinance, order or resolution of the board of commissioners; provided that such person hunting on the premises of another shall at all times have the written permission of the owner of such property on his person.

(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit events commonly known as turkey shoots; provided, that before any turkey shoot may be held within the unincorporated area of the county, a permit therefor shall be acquired by the sponsoring entity. The permit shall be issued by the director of community development for no fee; provided that:

(1) The sponsoring organization is charitable or nonprofit.

(2) The applicant demonstrates to the satisfaction of the director of community development that it has made adequate provisions for and will provide for the safety of all participants and for members of the public at large.

(3) No sponsoring organization may hold more than three turkey shoots in any calendar year.

(4) Permits issued under this section shall be valid for 30 days from issuance.

(c) Clayton County Animal Control Officers are authorized to possess and use self contained, compressed air powered rifles issued by the county for the specific intended purpose of sedation and capture of animals.

(Code 1973, § 2-19-10; Ord. No. 2007-56, § 1, 3-20-07)

http://www.claytoncountyga.gov/pdfs/commissioners/resolutions/2007-56.pdf

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OscarKnight 1 year, 7 months ago

....The Law Abiding Citizens of The State of Georgia, also has the lawful rights to defend themselves from criminal attacks.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 7 months ago

....Dislike to post so many times, but, I feel the pain that these folks are experiencing. I have been a Homeowner in this county for over 35 years, and I too have my backyard secluded paradise. Having a backyard paradise in the city limits is a constant struggle from outside elements.

.....One thing that I have learn, is the only thing that most city officials cares about is your money and your vote. If you find an a city official that supports your contributions and your lawful rights to exist in your Home.....Keep This Official !!!.......Send Him Christmas Cards, Birthday Cards, and do anything to support him to remain in your city.

Quote : " #Eady said the city wants to get the corporation’s permission before it builds a wall to separate the homes from the park."

.....This is more than my city manger, my code enforcement officials , my elected city officials, and my city judge has ever did for our lawful rights to safely exist in our city. Maybe Eady can take them to court on this......I give Eady a high five on this !!!!

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PGM 1 year, 7 months ago

I live around the corner from this park. It is clean and tiny. I never see anybody there day or night. The neighborhood is quiet and safe. We look out for each other. This all sounds greatly exaggerated if not completely made up.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 7 months ago

Quote :" #The couple has lived in their home for 12 years. They got the home because it had been in the family since before they moved in, but Doug Clark said part of the attraction was the seclusion provided by a wooded area behind their house."

......Maybe the family should have bought the property, to secure their seclusion, many years ago.

I bought my Home 35 years ago, spent a lot of time, money on restoration, Landscaping , I spent over $10,000. dollars on cutting trees, constructed a privacy wall, and have taken joining property owners to court......However; My family and I always had to roll with punches without any assistance from the city or the county. I really don't think that the these people has a legitimate grip, when comparing my circumstances to their own.

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