In spite of the fact that there are more domesticated dogs than children in the civilized world, dog parks are not considered a primary use of land by most parks and recreations commissions. . . After all, dogs don’t vote! In fact, many cities have ordinances prohibiting dogs from city parks due to health and safety laws. This does not mean however that your aspirations of setting up a dog park are in vain.
Get The Word Out
Take your dog for a walk. Talk to every person and pooch combination that you meet to enlist support.
Nominate a Site
Submit a written proposal to your city’s Parks & Recreations Department, highlighting the apparent need, reasoning, and ways in which your committee could help evolve the idea into a reality. (Give the Parks & Recreation Department the opportunity to influence your subsequent actions.)
The Parks and Recreation Department will inspect the site nominated and consider possible alternative sites, taking into account both community and social issues.
In the event of a conflict between the proposal and any existing city ordinances, the City Council will have to be approached to consider alternatives or amendments. In any event, it is most likely that final approval will be in the hands of the City Council.
Set up a sub-committee consisting of council members and citizens to work together in finding the best compromise between local laws and community issues.
Park Layout & Amenities
Ideally a dog park should be situated on a safe, non-isolated acre or more of regularly maintained open grass area. The park should be surrounded by a secure fence with double-gated entry/exit system. Other amenities should include: nearby parking, wheelchair access, facility for water, seating, shaded area, poop bag dispensers and regularly emptied trash cans.
Things to Remember When Using a Dog Park
- Never leave your dog unattended.
- Always clean up after your dog.
- Your dog should be up to date with their current vaccinations and always display a valid license.
- Be wary of accepting responsibility for someone else’s dog at the park, you may not have the same level of control over them as you do your own.
- Never allow your dog off leash until you reach the designated off-leash area.
- If your dog begins to play a little TOO rough, or starts a fight, leave right away in respect to the other owners.
- ALWAYS follow the community guidelines for park use.
Puppies: If you are the proud owner of a new puppy, use your judgment as to whether or not he/she is ready to attend the park and socialize with other dogs. You should never bring a dog younger than 4 months to a park. They won’t have had the necessary vaccinations that allow them to play safely with other dogs.
Spayed/Neutered Dogs: Spayed/neutered dogs are always recommended. They are less prone to fighting. Never bring a female dog in season to the park.
Children: If you bring children to the park, watch them as closely as you do your dog.