How To Get A Dog Park Started In Your Neighborhood

If visions of dog parks dance in your head this would be a good time to act on them. Many people are finding that because of changes in leash laws, finding a place outdoors to share quality time with their dogs is becoming more and more difficult. So if you are community minded as well as dog minded now may be the time to step up and get your community involved in creating a dog park. Not only will it be a great place for the dogs to socialize and play, it will also be a great place for you to socialize and get to know your own neighbors.

Getting Started

Your first step in this process is finding like minded individuals. This core of people will promote your vision of an off-leash space. Their concerns will be to spread the word, gain public support, solicit ideas and build momentum. They will do the scouting for appropriate space so that a mission statement can be written, and shown to city council members and the parks department, later to be presented to city hall.  They will also need to talk with the surrounding neighbors of this proposed dog park and be prepared to address concerns. City officials may need to see the support for the park, so your core group should  prepare a simply written proposal and gather signatures.

The wider you cast your net to gather public support the more likely you are to succeed so think of every possible group and individual that could support your efforts including groomers, vets, dog clubs, 4 H, and dog related businesses such as dog walkers, dog sitters and pet supply retailers.

Before addressing city officials, health and safety issues should be addressed. Rules and guidelines need to be clear and a budget created, including not only construction costs, but maintenance costs as well. The responsibilities of the owners should be spelled out and community meetings held to help educate potential dog park users.

The American Kennel Club has some helpful information to get you started. If you are on the road and would like to take a look at other off-leash parks for inspiration or find them in your area GoPetFriendly is a great resource.

First Five Steps In Bringing A Dog Park To Your Community

  • Find and document support
  • Find a location
  • Write a budget
  • Solicit community input
  • Contact government officials and request a hearing

Thuis is only a rough outline on how to proceed but will get your started. Contacting other succeful groups will give you the support. The Program of Veterinary Behavioral Medicine has developed a set of guidelines that will give you plenty of ideas about establishing and maintaining a dog park. It covers all areas that you should become familiar with from safety, sanitation,and noise to appropriate rules.

Do you have a favorite dog park? What do you like best about it?

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Photo Credits:suntom on flickr

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