There are many benefits to a dog park...
Why a dog park?
What, beyond, the obvious, are dog parks? Dog parks are not merely green spaces for dog owners to walk their dogs, but rather they are designated spaces for that purpose. Why is that important? Dogs are not always welcome, and indeed dogs are not always appropriate companions to have along. Parks identified as dog parks provide an identifiable safe place for dogs and their owners, where dogs are not limited by the needs of humans, and humans are not inconvenienced by the needs of dogs. And dogs do have needs: need of appropriate off-leash exercise, mental stimulation by smells and movements away from home, and social interaction with other dogs. Dog parks provide all of those in one setting.
Why a dog park in Weston?
Dog parks don’t only provide socialization opportunities for dogs, but their owners as well. Not unlike one looks forward to catching up with one’s soccer-parent pals at a game, or get together with a friend for golf on a Saturday afternoon, dog owners too look forward to seeing each other on their outings. In May of 2015, the Town of Weston passed a very strict leash ordinance. Dogs are no longer allowed to accompany us to our children’s sports practices/games at any of the Town’s fields, and opportunities to go off leash are limited to very hours and times. The only year-round time/place to have a dog off leash on public property in Weston is before 9AM on the Bisceglie trails. In the same meeting that the Weston Board of Selecmen passed the new leash law, they also acknowledged a need for a dog park.
The following spring Weston Dog Park, Inc. 501c3 was formed by a group of Weston residents, to offset the cost of such a park.
Dog Parks Are One Of The Most Sought After Amenities Amongst Home Buyers
RISMedia's Housecall: Jan. 13, 2016: New Breed of House Hunter Commands Pet Perks, Parks & More -
"Pets have found their way into the hearts—and homes—of over 125 million households across the country. Now, more so than ever before, pets are warranting consideration beyond that of their owners. On the house hunt, pets are playing a foremost role in the home buying and renting decisions their owners make."
Propertybase.com March 18, 2014: Dog-friendly Communities Important to Real Estate Buyers - "Potential home buyers begin their search with a list of "must-haves." That list is changing, however. Dog-friendly environments are becoming just as important as safety and aesthetics for those who own pets. The trend has been acknowledged within city council chambers. Major cities are setting aside generous budget lines to appeal to these residents. Recently, the Dallas City Council approved a $900,000 budget to renovate the city's first dog park. Here are some amenities to keep in mind to reach potential clients who have pets. Dog owners want access to dog parks. However, not all dog parks are the same. The number of acres set aside and the amount of separate play areas found at the local dog park can be just as much a selling point for a new home as the accessibility to public transportation. Communities that truly embrace its canine residents cater to activities for their enjoyment. On the weekends, dog "parents" look forward to outings that will not only allow them to engage in conversation with other pet owners, but they want additional opportunities for their dogs to socialize with other dogs. Many of these events double as play dates with a cause.”
Dog Parks Foster and Enhance a Sense of Community:
The park we are planning...
We would like to share some pictures of the kind of park we are planning here in Weston. We will be utilizing the wooded areas, with some simple fencing to keep the dogs contained and natural pathways through the trees. These pictures are of existing parks that we are basing our plans upon, just to give you an idea of how wonderful this space will be once completed.
Dog Parks Provide Health Benefits for Virtually Every Segment of our Community:
Off Leash Dog Parks Allow Dog Owners to be Law Abiding and Eases the Burden on Animal Control Officers:
Per The National Parks & Recreation Service booklet, Planning Parks for Pets: "Violations of the leash law and subsequent public complaints have decreased; and dog guardians have a place to legally exercise their pets. Off-leash areas allow dog guardians to be law-abiding, easing the burden of enforcement on animal control officers and freeing them to do more important work, such as animal rescue and control of dangerous animals.”
Dog Parks Protect Wildlife:
Exercised dogs are less likely to search out wildlife to chase.
Dog Parks Make for Better Behaved Dogs and Cut Down on Dog Bites:
Also from the NYC Parks Commissioner: "Well socialized and exercised dogs benefit the entire City with less barking, less on-leash aggression, less tendency to become territorial, friendlier behavior towards people and other dogs, and, as Health Department statistics over the past 20 years clearly show, a dramatic decrease in the number of dog bites. New York City's dramatic reduction in dog bites from over 40,000 annually before off-leash privileges to just under 4,000 annually in 2005 coincides with the advent of the Off-leash dog recreation, official Off-leash Hours and dog parks.”
Off Leash Dog Parks Have Been Shown to Deter Crime:
So much, that nearly all of NYC's parks have off-leash hours from 9pm - 9am. NYC's Parks Commissioner says "the past 3 Parks commissioners and many borough Parks administrators have partially credited dog owners who use the Off-leash Hours with helping to bring the Parks back from their state of decline and crime. Dog owners continue to keep the parks safe in hours where many people do not use them, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year, in all types of weather."