Hagerstown-area residents weigh in on proposed dog park location

March 03, 2013|By CALEB CALHOUN |
  • Nic the Pekingese and Onyx the pug peer at a visitor last week at the dog park area of Martin L. "Marty" Snook Memorial Park in Halfway. The dogs are brought daily to the park by owner Marshall Athey.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

Fairgrounds Park has become the front-runner for the location of a dog park in Hagerstown, and Yannick Mundy, who has two dogs that he lets run around at the fenced-in dog exercise area at Martin L. “Marty” Snook Memorial Park in Halfway with his friends’ dogs, called the plan “the greatest thing ever.”

“Right now it’s kind of hard to find an area where you could take a lot of dogs, and they could all have fun,” said Mundy, of Hagerstown. “It’d be good to have something closer in the area, especially at the fairgrounds.”

A task force considering locations for a dog park narrowed its focus to City Park and Fairgrounds Park, then said it would recommend Fairgrounds Park to Hagerstown City Council.

The plan for the dog park would allow dogs to run around without a leash in an open area of the park.

Willie Vinson of Halfway also takes his dog to the dog park in Halfway but said that it would be great for there to be another dog park, especially in the city.

“I think that one would be a little more populated because it’s in the city,” said Vinson, 49. “They just need to make sure that there are enough waste bags, and maybe have a place to sit for the adults.”

The dog park in Halfway has waste bags available but nowhere to sit. However, Vinson, like Mundy, said that he takes his dog to the dog park with his friends and their dogs, calling it a “great socialization meeting point.”

Mundy, 23, added that Fairgrounds Park would be a good location and is closer to where he lives.

“It’s already a social environment and a great way to get the dogs to be around more people and other dogs without having much to worry about,” he said. “I know how my dogs are, and at City Park, they’d be all over the place trying to chase the ducks.”

Mesha Pryor of Hagerstown, who has dogs named Suki and Coco, said she would prefer City Park for the location.

“It’s just more family-friendly, and I just like the atmosphere,” said Pryor, 38. “I think it’s a great idea as long as the dogs are friendly.”

Nelson Lewis, 71, of Hagerstown, who also has a dog, said  Fairgrounds Park would be a good location because there is “too much” at City Park. He added that he does not think there should be a dog park in the city at all.

“They can just run in their yards and people can walk them,” he said.

The issue of aggressive dogs running loose has been discussed at the meetings, according to published reports. Hagerstown Police Department Lt. Paul Kifer said at a meeting in January that he does not expect a major problem with aggressive dogs being taken to a dog park because their owners know the dogs could be euthanized if they attacked another dog or person.

Jake Olson said that he would not take his pit bull to a dog park because it does not get along with other dogs, but he expressed his support for putting one at Fairgrounds Park.

“There’s a lot of dogs that run around in my neighborhood, so maybe they’ll take them to the park,” said Olson, 32. “Fairgrounds seems like it would be a little safer.”

“I’m all for it, as long as the people that take their dogs out are careful, and Fairgrounds Park is big enough to have an area,” said Tammy Mies, 46, of Williamsport. “I would not let my dog run free because boxers have a tendency to not like other dogs.”

Ellis Morris of Hagerstown said he and his wife are looking for a new dog and that he would consider taking it to a dog park. He said he prefers a dog park at Fairgrounds Park because it is “more open” than City Park.

“There’s plenty of room, it’s a good location, it’s right there in town. I think it’d be terrific,” said Morris, 61.

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