Trent Ernst, Editor
A few months ago, Vickie Davis was out walking her dog out by the cemetery, when another dog began to get aggressive.
“Basically, I had come around the dump gate side of the cemetery loop and was just coming to the area that opens up to the ball diamond,” says Davis. “I saw two vehicles parked to the right with four dogs running around—two larger dogs and two smaller dogs. I assumed that they would be friendly since they were all playing together nicely and so didn’t call Maverick back to the truck. The dogs came running, pell mell towards Maverick, so I immediately stopped my truck, jumped out and called to Maverick and yelled at the dogs that were going after him.
“I mean the dogs weren’t tearing him apart, but they did run to him surrounded him and the one dog grabbed at his backside with his mouth! Maverick, being as wily as he is, managed to get away and immediately ran to my truck where I’d left the door open.
She says the incident helped crystallize an idea that Davis has had for a while now. As a dog owner, she sees a lot of dogs around town. And since the area out by the old ball diamonds is a popular place for people to let their dogs off-leash, she’s wondering why the area can’t be officially turned into a dog park?
So Davis and a group of people have gathered together to approach the District about turning the area into a dog park. “I’ve done research about regulations, liabilities, etc, as well as cost.”
So on Monday, February 15, Davis and crew went to Council to present the idea. “We’re not saying let’s build a brand new 500,000 park. But we could use old ball diamonds, add in some extra fencing, and maybe extend it into the bush a bit.”
Davis says she’s had the opportunity to visit many dog parks as she’s gone visiting friends and relatives, and, while some of them are very extensive, it doesn’t need to be that way. “There are dog parks that are extremely extensive, like Red Deer. There’s a dog park in California that has hiking trails and everything. It’s huge. Yes, we have hiking areas, but when it’s in a fenced area, you don’t have to worry about bears.”
Her hopes are much more moderate. “Sometimes there’s a separate area for small dogs. Basically, when you have a dog park that’s set up properly, you have a gated area where you take dog in on a leash. The other dogs can come over and meet the new dog. This Takes a lot of the prey/stalking habit away, makes it less aggressive scenario. You could do it for as low as $30,000, but could be up to $100,000. Don’t want to see it cost too much, but we are also citizens.”
It’s not a perfect solution, she admits, but owners are generally more attentive and able to take control if dogs decide to get aggressive towards each other.
“It’s also a chance to socialize with other people. If you’re all pet owners, you have something in common.”
In addition to the additional fencing to enclose the area, Davis says some things that would be needed are a few benches, doggy bags, and a garbage can or two. “There’s lots of parking, or you can walk there. Maybe throw in a watering area or an agility course if it doesn’t cost too much…”
She says she’s willing to volunteer to make sure it’s maintained, but is hoping the District is able to set the area up in the first place.
She has set up a Facebook group, which already has 50 members, and has been discussing the idea with many people. So far, she’s only heard one negative comment.