Below is just a basic overview. For more, visit the Government Relations page.
Here are the steps on the road to making a community dog park a reality.
Start with a core group of committed dog park activists
Talk with other individuals who are concerned about the lack of off-leash spaces. This group may form a park association and will be responsible for meeting with public officials, making presentations, maintaining the park, and defusing any problems that arise.
Hold a public meeting
Once the core group is in place, a larger community meeting will help you get the word out to supporters and solicit input and suggestions. Contact other dog owners, dog-related clubs, veterinarians, and humane society and animal control officials to gather interest and support. Encourage people to write letters of support to public officials and the media, and to make presentations to community groups whose backing would be valuable.
Write a clear mission statement
Detail the need and purpose of the park, stressing the benefits to dog owners, their canine companions, and the greater community.
Choose a site
The ideal area will be a safe, accessible location that takes into account the needs of park users as well as the effect the park will have on neighbors and the environment.
Create a budget
Determine how much it will cost to construct and maintain the park – costs for grass, fences, garbage removal, lawn maintenance, drinking water, field drainage, lighting, benches, and a pooper-scooper station. Some cities are willing and able to finance a dog park; others would rather share the cost with a group committed to maintaining the park and ensuring that park rules are followed.
Create a proposal
A well-prepared presentation will include your mission statement and goals, and address issues such as location, funding, maintenance and enforcement. Committee members will be expected to establish and enforce reasonable health and safety rules for the park, and these should be included in the proposal as well. The proposal will also demonstrate need. Do this by gathering statistics on the dogs and the people in your community.
Get to know local officials, and be patient and flexible
Dealing with city government is rarely a quick process, but don’t give up! Follow through with continued letters and e-mails, and be willing to work toward compromise.
Other issues you’ll need to consider are:
- Dog Park Design;
- and Rules and Regulations.
Again, lots of information can be found on the Government Relations page.
The development of a successful dog park requires a great deal of planning and effort. But your involvement and dedication will hopefully lead to the ultimate reward — the joy of creating and maintaining a special place where dogs and their families can run, romp and socialize.