Canine owners fetching dog park ideas
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Canine owners fetching dog park ideas
By Mike Van Sickle
Area dog owners cotinue to fetch ideas from the public in an ongoing effort to bring a dog park to West Union.
“We need an off-leash area in West Union where our dogs can explore and play with other dogs and dog owners. Like each of us, dogs also need to run and socialize,” said Brandy Schott, who along with her husband, Wade, is leading the local endeavor.
Wade explains that currently the couple typically walk their Boston terrier Hammy and/or Walker coon dog Dummy Dog on the city sidewalks to Dairy Queen or Subway from their West Union home, or on occasion along the banks of the Turkey River in Clermont.
“We take Hammy wherever we go. Like most dog owners, we feel as if he’s a member of the family,” Wade, a 1995 Valley graduate, added. “Unfortunately, like all other dog owners here, we are limited to the sidewalks or parks, which doesn’t make for an ideal situation for the dog and non-dog owners in West Union or other local communities.”
“With no other such public facilities in the area, a dog park would be another feather to put in the community’s hat,” said Brandy. “I have already received a large response from a number of people outside of West Union who would utilize such a facility.”
In addition to safety and nuisance issues and a large reduction in canine waste, the Schotts note that the establishment of a dog park separate from the city’s park and recreation systems would provide a gathering place for both the loyal pets and their owners.
After numerous walks around the community and inspecting potential sites, the couple admits that the initial hurdle in developing a dog park in West Union remains finding an estimated 1- to 2-acre parcel of land to utilize.
Due to safety concerns for the pets, Brandy said that while a minimum of one acre would be required, two acres would be ideal in allowing the space to be divided into large- and small-dog areas.
At the same time, Wade reported the biggest expense for a dog park would be fencing.
“We do have fundraising ideas and do not expect the City to purchase additional property,” he added. “We are hoping our recent (April 15) meeting with the West Union City Council helped make more people aware of our interest in the project.” “In addition, we are not trying to create other duties for our City employees,” Wade continued. “As far as any cleanup on the grounds, it is safe to say dog owners would watch each other to make sure that the waste stations were being properly used.”
Brandy reported that both watering and dog waste stations are required features for any dog park. Later additions could include a shelter(s), benches, bulletin board, and agility equipment.
“We are in the process of forming a small committee to formulate ideas,” she stressed. “Anything beyond establishing a location and installing the fencing, watering and waste stations would be considered a bonus. We would not be expecting any of the added features overnight.”
“Many people are thinking we want to install canine training and agility equipment right away, and that is not true. Although it would be great, they are certainly not immediate needs,” Wade said.
The Schotts will provide a Dog Park update to the City Council during its regular meeting on Monday, May 20. Anyone wishing to help in establishing a dog park in West Union or to sign a petition in favor of such a facility may contact Wade or Brandi at email@example.com. WUFF Prairie Supporters can also be found on Facebook.