Monday, September 6, 2010

Trying to create a dog park on the Outer Banks

So, when I was out in Santa Fe this summer, the place I stayed had a genius idea. They had taken an unused tennis court and converted it to an off leash area for dogs. It required little work, they installed a couple of Doggie Depots like we have here on the beach accesses for cleaning up after your pet, the owners provided the water and donated toys and benches.
So, this got me thinking. We don't have a dog park here on the Outer Banks, and it would seem fairly easy to do. I know there have been rumbles of building one in Kitty Hawk, but it sounds as though that may take forever, and isn't really centrally located.
I decided to take matters into my own hands and have sent the following letter to the town planners of Kill Devil Hills.

I have a proposal for the town of Kill Devil Hills and I was hoping you could give me some assistance.

I am interested in knowing how often the tennis courts in the Dare County Recreation Park and behind the fire station are used. If one of the courts is unused, I would like to recommend turning it into a dog park. As I'm sure you're aware, the lack of a dog park on the Outer Banks is a complaint of both residents and visitors. This summer I vacationed in Santa Fe and there a lot of the towns have turned unused/under used tennis courts into dog parks. The transition is easy to make, all that is required is the installation of a Doggie Depot, as we have at the beach accesses, a trash can, a sign listing the regulations (and covering liability). In Santa Fe, the people who used the parks were responsible for supplying the water, donated toys and benches.

As I'm sure you know, dog parks offer several benefits. According to wikipedia, the benefits include:

1) Promoting responsible dog ownership,[26]

2) Socialization and exercise for dogs (which leads to a healthier dog in both mind and body),

3) Bringing dogs and owners together in neutral territory, which can reduce fear and aggression in dogs,[27]

4) Offering elderly and disabled citizens a place to exercise their companions,[28] and

5) Accommodating dogs and their owners in a public open space (this has been shown to lead dog owners to higher levels of compliance with relevant laws).[29]

I have attached a sample document that New York City uses of rules that could be posted on the gate doors.

Please let me know how I can explore the possibility of turning one of the town's unused/underused tennis courts into a dog park. I appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks
We'll see what they say!

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