Photo by Zack Sorohan

Cleveland State strategically placed signs around the urban and business colleges to help enforce new pet policies.


Dec. 11, 2017

Cleveland State cracks down on pet policy

Canine activity had reached an all-time high on Cleveland State University’s campus this semester, bringing wagging tails, furry faces, and decaying patches of grass. 

The recent opening of The Edge on Euclid apartments across from the Cleveland State lawn on East 18th Street and Euclid Avenue near the College of Urban Affairs has made that lawn the most popular hub for dogs to relieve themselves and roam the grassy area with their owners.

“It’s not that [owners] are not picking up waste from their pets, it is the chemicals in their urine that is damaging the grass,” said Shehadeh Abdelkarim, director of facilities management at Cleveland State. “We have limited resources and funding to repeatedly address and repair the lawn.”

The increase of pets visiting the campus this semester is what prompted the Cleveland State Facilities, Architect, Safety, Technology department (FAST) to post signs around the lawn that read, “No Pets Allowed” on Wednesday, Nov. 8, although the campus has had a no pets policy since May 2016.

“Due to a noticed uptick in the use of certain green spaces by pet owners, temporary signage has been placed on the lawn outside of the Urban Affairs building to better inform individuals of campus policies,” Abdelkarim said. “Facilities is working with CSU Marketing to install permanent signage.”

Cleveland State groundskeepers initially mentioned the increasing damage to the lawn to FAST.

The Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs staff also brought the issue to Abdelkarim’s attention on behalf of student complaints that they received, according to Mary Smith, administrative coordinator for the dean’s office in the urban college.

Smith explained that as a pet owner, she is aware that picking up after your dog leaves residue behind.  She imagines that this factor could have contributed to the students’ complaints, particularly ones who use the lawn for recreation. 

For months, Abdelkarim and all of his team members routinely visited the lawn to inform pet owners about the policy, but they were most often met with the response that there were no signs.

FAST has been in contact with management at the Edge, which responded by sending a message to the tenants about the no pets policy on university property.

Since posting the signs, Abdelkarim said there has been compliance to the policy, and facilities personnel have not seen any pets on the lawn.

A similar situation occurred with the opening of the Langston Apartments on Chester Avenue, which brought an influx of dogs on campus. The Langston resolved that situation by creating a designated area for dogs, complete with trash cans and dog waste stations.

Lucie Homrighaus, a first year nursing student, said, “When I first moved into the Edge I took [my dog] across the street and it was a really short walk."

"Now I have to go down the street in the lawn next to Burgers 2 Beer when it’s dark outside, and I don’t really feel comfortable because it’s not [well] lit. "

She continued, “In the Edge we have a courtyard with a little lawn, and then they posted that there are no pets allowed there either, so now I don’t know where to take my dog.”

Abdelkarim indicated that the City of Cleveland public property is available for pets to use, as long as owners follow the city guidelines of cleaning up after their pets.

For a more expansive grassy area to take your dog, visit the Downtown Dog Park located at 1505 Merwin Ave., which offers 3,500 square feet of fenced space.


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